The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

It’s here: Tourist season has come to the D.C. Metro system

(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

During this past Saturday’s spring-like weather, Metro clocked 344,068 trips, a 37-percent increase from the average 251,214 trips taken on a Saturday in February.

That means tourist season — and the ensuing etiquette clash between tourists and commuters — has commenced on the Metro.

Typically the oft-repeated reminder to D.C.’s tourists is to stand on the right side of a functioning escalator when opting not to walk. And yes, while that’s the appreciated escalator code, here’s a reminder to the region’s regular Metro riders annoyed by the tourists: Be nice to them. A polite “excuse me” without an overdrawn, exasperated gasp, eye roll or social media shaming should suffice if someone’s blocking the escalator and you are in danger of missing your train.

Tourists are pumping lots of money into our economy and are increasing ridership on our transit system, which is starving for cash and improvements, so we probably want them to come back. Metro estimates that during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, ridership increases by up to 53 percent on weekends.

The festival is currently underway, though peak bloom time is expected to be between April 11 and 14.

[Top 5: The busiest days on Metro]