WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Just months away from Metro’s projected January 2014 launch of the Silver Line, a recent market study conducted by the rail service shows the number of riders actually aware of the new route falls short of expectations by 45 to 55 percent, and the number of those riders who know where it’s going is even fewer.
The study served as a dose of reality for Metro, in spite of the 740,000 riders the Silver Line was initially expected to generate per month.
Metro is expected to boost that awareness level with a marketing surge in the coming months.
“We need to educate our customers,” said Lynn Bowersox, the assistant general manager of customer service.
Ridership isn’t the only awareness problem Metro currently faces. The same study revealed that of the riders who do know about the Silver Line, even less –- an undetermined number — understand the new line begins at East Falls Church and ends at Wiehle-Reston East.
Some even believe the latest Metro installment will connect as far out as Dulles Airport, which in actuality, is a part of the Silver Line’s Phase II –- not scheduled for completion until 2018.
Phase I, the portion scheduled to open in 2014, diverges from the Orange Line at East Falls Church and adds five new stations, including McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East.
Bowersox said Metro is considering offering free rides when the Silver Line first launches, as a way of incentivizing riders to familiarize themselves with the new route.