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Metrorail ridership drops amid safety, reliability concerns

This graph included in the FY2017 budget report shows how rail ridership has declined. (Courtesy WMATA)

WASHINGTON — It seems the unpredictable trips, safety concerns and increasing fares have proven too much for Metrorail users as the transit agency reports a drop in ridership.

Metro is reporting a 5 percent drop in daily ridership over the last five years.

Compared with 2010, roughly 30,000 fewer people are boarding the trains regularly during the weekdays.

Metro attributes the decline to customers’ safety and reliability concerns, which have plagued the system. It mentions the Yellow Line smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza in January and the substation fire at Stadium Armory last month.

The report also notes the on-time performance of trains has been consistently worse since the opening of the Silver Line.

All this, and riders are paying nearly 60 percent more than they were in 2004 to ride Metrorail. Seven years ago, the rail base was $1.35 and the max a customer would pay to use the system was $3.90. In 2015, the base is $2.15 and the max fare is $5.90.

The report also attributes the decline to fewer federal workers commuting into the city due to retirement or telework, and the tendency of customers to use bicycles for shorter trips as opposed to Metrorail.

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