Metro ridership grew by 1.5 million passengers -- less than 1 percent growth -- during the 1990 fiscal year, which ended June 30, but is expected to rise significantly over the next nine months as six new stations open on three subway lines -- the first new stations to open since the summer of 1986.

Ridership on buses and subways grew by about 3.5 percent the previous two years. Metro officials attribute this past year's small increase to a drop in tourism and Metro fare increases, which went into effect in July, 1989.

Ridership is expected to jump when two new Montgomery County subway stations open Sept. 22 on the Red Line -- Forest Glen and Wheaton.

Ridership should rise again next spring when the Blue Line in Virginia is extended to the Van Dorn station on the Alexandria-Fairfax County border.

Also next spring, the first three stations of the Green Line will open in the District of Columbia, heading north from the existing Gallery Place station (where Yellow and Red Lines meet) to Mount Vernon Square -- UDC, Shaw -- Howard University and U Street -- Cardozo.

Nine future Metro subway stations are yet to be funded: Glenmont in Montgomery County (terminus of the Red Line); Franconia/Springfield in Fairfax County (terminus of the Blue Line) and seven stations on the Green line, including two stations in the District north of U Street and five stations on the Green Line extending to Branch Avenue in Prince George's County.

BUS AND SUBWAY RIDERSHIP INCREASE 1.5 MILLION IN PAST YEAR

FISCAL ... BUS ONLY .. RAIL ONLY .. BUS/RAIL** ... TOTAL TRANSIT

YEAR*

1987.....98,944,300......89,427,100.....37,545,900.....225,917,300

1988.....96,815,000......97,036,100.....39,634,400.....233,485,500

1989.....97,692,400.....102,249,500.....41,763,900.....241,705,800

1990.....98,238,900.....102,967,500.....42,057,100.....243,262,500

*Fiscal years ending June 30.

**Bus/rail trips are passengers using both bus and subway, computed by the number of bus and subway transfers used.

SOURCE: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.