The number of subway riders using the Red Line stations that opened last year in the District and Montgomery County has risen steadily in recent months, reaching a peak of about 62,000 passengers a day, according to a report released yesterday by Metro officials.

Nevertheless, ridership has fallen short of initial forecasts by transit officials, who had estimated that the nine new stations would be used by about 70,000 riders a day.

Five of the new stations opened last August, extending from the Tenleytown stop in Northwest Washington to Montgomery's Grosvenor station north of the Capital Beltway. Four others -- White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove -- opened in December.

Officials said that ridership may have grown at a slightly slower pace than expected partly because the transit authority did not reduce bus service in the Wisconsin Avenue-Rockville Pike corridor as sharply as had been planned.

In addition, officials said, some commuters may have been deterred by delays in the authority's plans to increase the frequency of Red Line service.

The report also said that the largest gaps between recent ridership counts and Metro's initial forecasts had been found at two stations, Rockville and Twinbrook. Officials "may have just overestimated the drawing capability of those two stations," the report said.