Blossoms, sports, politics yield record-busting Metro ridership

WASHINGTON – Metrorail logged its fourth busiest day ever Wednesday thanks to the Cherry Blossom Festival, two professional sports games and an immigration rally and Metro expects high traffic again today.

Based on initial data, passengers took more than 870,171 trips on Metrorail between 5 a.m. and midnight, Metro announced Thursday.

It was the busiest ridership day since April 2, 2010, topping even January’s inauguration ridership, and the fourth busiest day in Metrorail’s 37-year history.

In addition to visitors trekking to the National Mall to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, ridership increased Wednesday because both the Nationals and the Wizards played at home adding to the typical rush hour crush. And 30,000 people were expected to attend an immigration reform rally at the U.S. Capitol.

Metro responded by providing additional trains on certain lines. And the transit authority warned riders to avoid certain stations where crowds were expected to be the worst.

Warm temperatures will continue to draw visitors to the Mall again Thursday. The Nationals and Capitols play at home this evening, which will again increase ridership on Metrorail.

Riders should expect crowded trains and stations during the Thursday evening rush hour. Additional Green Line trains will run between Mount Vernon Square and Anacostia stations during the rush to accomodate baseball fans, WMATA said.

Metro General Manager Richard Sales says growing ridership increases the need to expand the rail system’s capacity. Metro plans to upgrade its power system and add longer trains.

The new Silver Line will be the first major expansion of the system in years and is slated to help 400,000 riders when it opens late this year.

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