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Many holidays look like weekends on Metro

WMATA's planning department has started posting more graphs and charts of ridership data, like one today changes in ridership over 5 years. A few recent charts show how holiday ridership compares to regular weekdays, Saturdays, or Sundays.

On holidays like MLK Day and Presidents' Day, when most offices are closed, Metro runs a Saturday schedule. That seems sensible, because the ridership pattern across the day closely resembles the typical Saturday.

Images from WMATA.

When the federal government is closed but most private companies still have work, like Columbus Day and Veterans' Day, Metro runs a Saturday schedule with extra peak service. Then, the ridership graph looks like a blend between the Saturday and typical weekday pattern:

On some of the holidays where virtually everyone is off and people generally travel, like Thanksgiving, Memorial Day and Labor Day, Metro runs on a Sunday schedule. The ridership pattern looks a lot like a typical Sunday as well, except Thanksgiving where it's even lower:

Even though the final numbers aren't in yet, we were able to get an exclusive look at the ridership chart for today, during Hurricane Sandy. Here it is:

Image not really from WMATA.
David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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Har dee har. You must be as bored as I am. Do they say what time period those graphs are from? For example, I have often avoided Metro, sometimes by force, on holiday weekends over the last few years, due to closures and single-tracking. If my station weren't closed/there weren't endless waits from single-tracking, I would have ridden on some occasions, and I can't imagine I'm the only one begging for rides, planning a weekend homebound/nearby, or taking cabs rather than Metro.

Also, I would kill for limited bus service today. For now, things don't appear too bad, and a nice meal with friends would be a welcome break from the news coverage. It's certainly getting worse and service would need to be cut off soon, for sure, but I think they could have run for a few hours without too much danger.

by Ms. D on Oct 29, 2012 3:23 pm • linkreport

Had to get to work in Metro Center from home on U Street today. Car2Go saved the day. I apparently work for weather-denialists.

by Mr. R on Oct 29, 2012 3:30 pm • linkreport

Metro's on-time performance is at 100% today! Unbelievable!

by @SamuelMoore on Oct 29, 2012 3:59 pm • linkreport

Several interesting bits of info I see in the charts on what happens on holidays:
1. Average Saturday ridership May 2012 is clearly up compared to 2011, Sunday up a little, while the weekday looks to be down or flat. Would be useful to see the Saturday/Sunday ridership numbers in more detail over the past 5 years and before/after the start of the weekend track projects. If the Saturday/Sunday ridership is up despite the weekend track projects and the service frequencies, that emphasizes how more people are using the Metro to get around and not just to get to work.

2. The Saturday half-hourly ridership chart shows a sharp jump at 7 AM with what are counts of people entering the stations prior to 7 AM in the 6 & 6:30 AM intervals. The Holidays show more of a steady increase upon opening at 5 AM. My take is the sharp jump at 7 AM on Saturdays shows there is a build-up of people waiting for the first trains on Saturday. The Metro really should be opening by at least 6 AM on Saturdays.

by AlanF on Oct 29, 2012 4:43 pm • linkreport

@Mr. R: car2go "closes" at 7pm tonight so best get home early. Hopefully your weather-denialist employer don't also make you work late!

by 7r3y3r on Oct 29, 2012 4:49 pm • linkreport

I legitimately Lol'd at the third graph. Good joke for you and just another sign of what a huge geek I am.

by drumz on Oct 29, 2012 5:22 pm • linkreport

Just curious but what it is like the day after Thanksgiving I would assume there are many on the rails coming from malls, and other areas of shopping

by kk on Oct 29, 2012 7:37 pm • linkreport

I really wonder how much cause is running their effect. Everyone knows Metro is all but unusable on weekends. They insist on running on weekend schedules on Holidays, everyone knows to avoid the metro on Holidays too.

by TeganAnn on Oct 30, 2012 6:30 am • linkreport

I note that Columbus Day and Veterans Day at rush hour has considerably higher traffic than an average Saturday. Would it kill Metro to run a few extra trains between 6:30-9 am and 4-7 p.m. on those holidays?

by lou on Oct 30, 2012 10:14 am • linkreport

@lou: As mentioned above, Metro operates "modified Saturday schedules" on Columbus/Veterans Day service, with exactly the extra rush-hour trains that you've asked for.

by Payton on Oct 30, 2012 12:11 pm • linkreport

How does bus ridership look ?

by kk on Nov 1, 2012 2:45 pm • linkreport

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