Ridership figures for Metrorail fell so much in 2016 that the decline dragged down ridership numbers on a national scale, according to the Washingtonian.
Research by TransitCenter shows that ridership on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority dropped 14 percent from 2015 to 2016.
The drastic drop in the region resulted in the national light rail and subway total to drop by 0.3 percent. When TransitCenter didn’t account for the D.C. Metro in their research, the average in ridership grew by 0.6 percent.
The ridership rates have steadily dropped since Metro kicked off its Safetrack iniaitive, which is a months-long maintenance blitz with severe service reductions on the Orange and Silver Lines.
While the Safetrack program was created to make the system safer and more reliable, it has tested the patience of riders.
WMATA reported having over 191 million riders on rail tips in fiscal year 2016, compared to about 206 million the fiscal year prior.
“When you have 1 in 7 customers fleeing your system, that’s really a five-alarm fire. People don’t feel they can trust the system to get there on time. Of course, if repairs need to be done, repairs need to be done,” said Steven Higashide, a senior analyst at TransitCenter.
Higashide also says Metro management and staff are also to blame for the drops.
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