Yet, fewer than three in 10 of those riders gave the region’s transportation system — as a whole – a satisfaction rating of eight or better on a scale of 10, the survey says. District residents were easiest to please (38 percent), followed by Virginia (28 percent) and Maryland (27 percent).
What’s more sobering is that the survey points to the slog facing Metro board chairman Jack Evans, who has made it his mission to use Metro’s deepening woes as a way of unifying the region into creating a dedicated funding stream. Yet the small survey also suggests it might be possible to persuade the region to open its wallet some more for public transportation—though a good bit of that enthusiasm is reserved for maintaining existing roads and bridges.
The survey also examines people’s airport preferences and found that the Silver Line’s opening had the greatest impact on District residents’ choice of airport. Other findings show that ride-sharing is still a millennial phenomenon, engaging mostly people between the ages of 18-34. (88 percent of millennials are at least “somewhat familiar” with the Uber app, the survey says.) Uber is also more than twice as popular in the District than in the suburbs, the survey found.
As for rooting around for new money, the survey suggests that other than Evans’ constituents, people do not feel a lot of enthusiasm at the moment for boosting federal, state or local government funding for public transportation. And that enthusiasm is much higher among those who ride public transportation than among those who don’t.
In Maryland, only 38 percent are “very likely” to support additional government funding for public transportation. In Virginia, only 28 percent feel that way. Only District residents are burning to have the government pay more: six in 10 D.C. respondents said they’re “very likely” to support additional government funding for public transportation.
Yet the survey also suggests that a majority of people might be inclined to commit additional public funds to transportation. Forty-six percent of Virginian and West Virginians characterized themselves as “somewhat likely” to go along with additional public funding, compared with 43 percent of suburban Marylanders. In the District, 21 percent are “somewhat likely” to support more government funding.
But that sentiment is also shaped by how they get around now. Among users of public transportation, 50 percent are “very likely” to support additional government funding, and 33 percent are “somewhat likely” to do so. Among nonusers, the number of those “very likely” to back additional government funding drops to 24 percent. And yet – glimmer of hope, Mr. Evans? — 48 percent of nonusers say they are “somewhat likely” to do so.
Finally, when asked what types of projects the region should invest in, the survey found that 82 percent gave the highest ranking to maintaining “roads, bridges and other infrastructure that already exists.” And more than half – 55 percent – suggested building new highways or widening them.
It’s not totally clear from other questions, however, what respondents thought those funds should do: one asks respondents to rank the importance of “Reducing traffic congestion by improving public transportation infrastructure,” and 73 percent indeed gave their blessing to that. But that also seems like a fairly broad question.
The firm says its survey relied on a telephone survey of 200 heads of household and 201 online respondents and has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.