The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced on Wednesday that its total rail ridership was 182 million trips during the 2019 calendar year, up from 175 million the previous year.
There was a net growth of seven million trips last year, marking the first uptick in Metro ridership in almost a decade.
According to WMATA, it is a sign of “increasing customer confidence in Metro’s reliability and on-time performance.”
While there was a rise for every day of the week, weekdays saw 20,000 more trips per commuting day, which is a 3.3 percent increase compared to 2018.
Currently, riders take an average of 626,000 rail trips on the system on a week day.
— Metro (@wmata) January 15, 2020
Weekends constituted a quarter of overall rail ridership growth. Around 264,000 trips took place on Saturdays, indicating an increase of 9.4 percent and average Sunday ridership reached 168,000 trips with an increase of 6.5 percent.
The agency attributed the results to “customer-focused improvements implemented last year” such as extending Yellow Line service to Greenbelt, extending all Red Line trips to the ends of the line, offering affordable pass options, and doubling down on Rush Hour Promise.
“We know that our customers have lots of travel options these days, and that we have to earn their patronage every day through convenient, affordable, reliable service,” Paul J. Wiedefeld, Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, was quoted as saying in Metro’s statement. “We are excited to continue this trend and welcome more riders to Metro, as we work even harder to become the region’s transportation provider of choice.”
Weekday ridership in the second half of 2018 had stood at a 20-year low, according to a Metro press release in March 2019.