Thousands flock to Fairfax alternatives during Metro shutdown

WASHINGTON — Significant shutdowns this month on the Red, Blue, Orange and Silver lines caused Metrorail ridership to drop 11 percent over the last two weeks compared with the same time period last year.

Though Metro initially offered few extra backup options for riders on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, data provided to WTOP show the extra bus routes added by Fairfax Connector were a popular alternative.

The Fairfax Connector’s rush-hour service between Vienna and Pentagon reported 4,983 trips. Additional service from the Reston South Park and Ride added another 545 trips.

Meanwhile, Fairfax County Department of Transportation spokeswoman Robin Geiger said the express Route 699 between the Fairfax County Government Center and Foggy Bottom carried 1,134 more trips during the two-week disruption of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines than it did in the preceding two weeks, a 32-percent increase in ridership.

Metro blames the track work on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines for about 9 percent of the rail ridership drop during the period, but the agency said that drop is consistent with their expectations.

On the Red Line, Metro said the closures of some of its stations have reduced ridership by nearly 4 percentage points.

With a number of those riders shifting to buses during the work zone, Metro added extra bus services to some of the busiest routes in the days after the track work began.

Overall, riders appear to have heeded warnings and have adjusted their travel plans accordingly. On the Orange and Silver lines, Metro said enough customers have changed their commutes, they are still able to transport about 20,000 people per hour during the morning rush hour despite single-tracking.

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