When is your Metro station busiest?

A Red Line train at the Farragut North Metro station. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Metro ridership grew significantly this May compared with last year, but remains well below historic highs a decade ago, according to data obtained by WTOP.

The average of 643,530 weekday rail system entries May 2019 nearly matches 2016 levels, just before Metro’s 24/7 track work began. The peak historical May ridership was around 750,000 from 2008 to 2010.

Metro uses the month of May to bench mark ridership numbers.

While an increase of nearly 20,000 daily weekday boardings in May of this year compared with May of last year is a positive sign, the summer-long Blue and Yellow Line shutdown cut into ridership again starting in June.

Usage had been lower in the last six months of 2018.

Metro has yet to formally release its ridership and performance data for April, May and June of this year, but detailed spreadsheets reviewed by WTOP show the full year of rail ridership, including the times of day people tend to use each of the system’s 91 stations.

In the District, overall weekday entries and exits into the rail system are relatively balanced each month, with the most weekday entries during the afternoon rush, and the most exits in the morning rush.

In both Virginia and Maryland, Metro recorded around 2,000 to 3,000 more entries per weekday than exits from the rail system at stations there, suggesting that a small but significant number of people might Metro one way, but use another mode of transport, such as a cab, bus or Uber/Lyft, to get home. The data don’t provide answers as to why that might be – shorter hours, decreased frequency of trains late at night, or simply convenience or alternate destinations, could all be explanations.

The data on the busiest times of day for entries and exits at each station largely track what you might expect: Stations downtown have the most riders exiting in the morning rush and entering in the evening rush, while end-of-line stations see the reverse.

At Dupont Circle and Farragut North, where chiller systems were broken for several years until just last week, more than 7,000 people waited for trains in the afternoon rush at Dupont, but more than 3,000 waited for trains on the hot platforms in the morning, midday and evening periods.

At Farragut North, the weekday boardings are much more lopsided — more than 16,000 entries during the evening rush in June, compared to just 1,319 in the morning rush; 3,553 in the middle of the day; and 3,496 in evenings.

Farragut West, Gallery Place, Metro Center and L’Enfant Plaza show a similar skew to rush-hour commuting.

Some stations see less of a midday dropoff, though.

Union Station remains Metro’s busiest, with nearly 30,000 entries and exits each day, ahead of Metro Center, L’Enfant Plaza, Gallery Place, Farragut North, Farragut West and Foggy Bottom. The station is slightly busier in the afternoon rush than in the morning rush.

In Virginia, the Pentagon station averages around 14,000 entries and exits each weekday, ranking it and Rosslyn ahead of Pentagon City, Crystal City, Ballston, Vienna and Wiehle-Reston East.

In Maryland, Silver Spring and Shady Grove each see around 11,000 riders each weekday. Silver Spring is somewhat more balanced over the course of the day, while Shady Grove is heavily commuter-based. Bethesda and Friendship Heights, on the D.C.-Maryland border, are the next busiest stations.

On Saturdays, Pentagon City has the most station entries and exits in Virginia, followed by Reagan National Airport, Rosslyn and Vienna.

The busiest Maryland stations on Saturdays tend to be Silver Spring, Shady Grove, Greenbelt, New Carrollton, Prince George’s Plaza, Friendship Heights and Bethesda.

Some stations tend to be extremely quiet on weekends though. On Sundays, fewer than 200 people on average use Cheverly; Landover sees around 300; Eisenhower Avenue fluctuates, but goes as low as around 200 per Sunday in a given month, while Spring Hill is around 300, West Falls Church is around 450, Deanwood is around 400, and Capitol Heights is around 400.

The numbers

Find out when your Metro station is typically busiest in the tables below. The tables show average weekday data for April for simplicity and to eliminate ridership periods that are skewed by a 24/7 shutdown.

Still, usage varies somewhat by time of year. For example, stations such as Smithsonian tend to have higher ridership than usual in April due to spring break tourists and cherry blossoms.

D.C. Stations AM
ENTRY
MID PM EVN TOTAL ENTRY AM
EXIT
MID PM EVN TOTAL
EXIT
Anacostia 2,402 1,473 1,574 371 5,819 1,313 1,159 2,383 1,075 5,930
Archives 296 1,430 5,544 1,056 8,327 4,514 2,506 933 213 8,166
Benning
Rd.
1,400 661 404 140 2,604 211 420 1,212 545 2,389
Brookland 2,074 1,402 1,862 528 5,867 1,298 1,225 2,250 967 5,740
Capitol Heights 1,194 377 230 82 1,882 101 229 1,014 347 1,691
Capitol
South
938 1,563 4,109 777 7,386 3,820 2,258 1,329 410 7,818
Cleveland
Park
2,042 967 761 352 4,122 280 879 2,080 930 4,168
Columbia
Heights
4,117 2,525 3,191 1,287 11,119 1,998 2,146 4,754 2,376 11,275
Congress
Heights
1,159 621 472 154 2,406 250 401 1,082 445 2,178
Deanwood 675 326 210 71 1,282 136 211 579 244 1,170
Dupont
Circle
3,373 3,388 7,541 3,202 17,504 6,057 4,148 5,562 1,942 17,709
Eastern
Market
2,141 1,360 1,522 744 5,767 948 1,290 3,034 987 6,258
Farragut
North
1,127 3,449 15,524 3,462 23,562 14,243 6,022 2,560 563 23,388
Farragut
West
1,448 3,179 13,428 2,988 21,042 13,388 5,277 2,659 540 21,864
Federal Center
SW
383 1,075 4,272 381 6,111 3,915 1,616 513 152 6,196
Federal
Triangle
161 1,362 5,651 799 7,974 4,755 2,428 662 96 7,940
Foggy
Bottom
2,075 3,671 10,180 3,860 19,786 8,807 5,105 4,615 1,273 19,800
Fort
Totten
4,071 1,736 1,733 462 8,001 1,030 1,237 3,737 1,850 7,854
Gallery
Place
1,774 3,696 12,334 6,547 24,351 9,988 5,612 6,450 2,049 24,100
Georgia
Ave.
2,998 1,395 1,445 495 6,333 843 924 2,647 1,416 5,830
Judiciary
Square
320 1,459 4,716 635 7,130 4,542 2,173 733 150 7,597
L’Enfant
Plaza
2,669 3,616 13,891 1,717 21,892 12,330 5,444 3,267 562 21,603
McPherson
Square
1,743 2,251 9,129 1,701 14,825 8,682 3,506 2,424 667 15,278
Metro
Center
1,679 4,273 15,535 4,717 26,203 12,983 7,556 4,461 1,033 26,033
Minnesota
Ave.
882 629 596 149 2,256 405 509 944 421 2,278
Mt. Vernon
Square
1,232 907 1,806 860 4,806 1,365 1,127 1,813 706 5,011
Navy
Yard
1,776 1,610 5,270 2,987 11,642 4,397 2,122 4,035 1,243 11,797
NoMa-Gallaudet 3,098 1,953 4,224 785 10,061 3,311 1,707 3,110 1,354 9,483
Potomac
Ave.
1,973 856 591 204 3,624 313 515 1,714 701 3,243
Rhode Island
Ave.
2,446 1,322 1,013 358 5,139 661 1,032 2,407 962 5,064
Shaw-Howard
U.
1,526 1,076 1,521 703 4,826 911 1,043 1,877 896 4,728
Smithsonian 291 2,757 8,374 1,420 12,841 4,935 6,220 1,935 279 13,368
Stadium-Armory 1,209 550 544 141 2,444 351 403 1,067 455 2,275
Takoma 2,888 1,164 887 265 5,204 477 686 2,715 1,102 4,979
Tenleytown 1,675 1,477 2,209 908 6,269 1,553 1,618 2,661 942 6,774
U
Street
1,874 1,095 1,681 1,296 5,945 997 1,086 2,708 1,228 6,019
Union
Station
9,836 5,306 11,205 2,951 29,297 9,368 6,293 11,737 1,879 29,277
Van
Ness
2,489 1,382 1,425 573 5,870 783 1,163 2,489 1,110 5,544
Waterfront 1,440 1,007 1,434 614 4,494 1,009 914 1,775 818 4,515
Woodley
Park
2,538 1,970 2,090 698 7,295 857 2,003 2,893 1,289 7,043
D.C. April
total
79,428 72,315 180,127 51,438 383,308 148,123 92,214 106,820 36,216 383,372

 

Md. Stations AM
ENTRY
MID PM EVN TOTAL ENTRY AM
EXIT
MID PM EVN TOTAL
EXIT
Addison
Rd.
1,820 547 216 112 2,694 161 360 1,655 582 2,759
Bethesda 3,067 1,941 3,397 923 9,328 2,739 1,616 3,498 1,499 9,352
Branch
Ave.
4,290 743 374 127 5,534 223 489 3,771 977 5,459
Cheverly 694 211 111 28 1,045 73 107 648 188 1,016
College
Park
1,775 937 1,051 272 4,035 613 674 1,813 809 3,909
Forest
Glen
1,452 326 234 59 2,070 99 176 1,218 459 1,952
Friendship
Heights
2,843 1,925 2,500 806 8,074 1,755 1,664 3,283 1,281 7,983
Glenmont 4,100 977 485 145 5,708 191 511 3,407 1,373 5,481
Greenbelt 3,578 1,146 682 203 5,610 366 609 3,283 1,240 5,498
Grosvenor-Strathmore 3,281 903 754 165 5,103 358 451 2,840 1,210 4,860
Landover 1,225 279 127 52 1,683 94 168 1,070 362 1,695
Largo Town
Center
3,098 559 348 136 4,140 226 415 2,792 698 4,131
Medical
Center
810 820 3,141 513 5,284 3,093 997 705 283 5,078
Morgan
Blvd.
1,334 264 162 56 1,816 121 172 1,180 334 1,807
Naylor
Rd.
1,443 462 286 146 2,337 166 312 1,288 467 2,233
New
Carrollton
4,690 1,283 814 203 6,990 612 787 4,192 1,163 6,754
Prince George’s
Plaza
2,152 963 826 355 4,295 360 725 2,166 938 4,190
Rockville 2,055 847 869 250 4,021 641 608 2,058 771 4,078
Shady
Grove
8,196 2,049 1,190 262 11,697 637 1,102 7,065 2,559 11,362
Silver
Spring
5,880 2,426 2,768 856 11,931 1,849 1,695 5,685 2,488 11,718
Southern
Ave.
3,024 905 471 198 4,599 283 585 2,717 839 4,424
Suitland 2,653 780 883 194 4,510 732 544 2,308 804 4,388
Twinbrook 2,180 793 906 227 4,106 658 541 1,993 917 4,109
West
Hyattsville
1,925 685 507 141 3,259 162 414 1,651 807 3,035
Wheaton 1,965 774 549 256 3,543 249 533 1,836 896 3,514
White
Flint
1,613 689 1,066 244 3,612 850 532 1,512 660 3,554
Md. April
total
71,141 24,235 24,717 6,929 127,022 17,310 16,788 65,634 24,605 124,336
Va. Stations AM
ENTRY
MID PM EVN TOTAL ENTRY AM
EXIT
MID PM EVN TOTAL
EXIT
Arlington
Cemetery
26 834 640 105 1,605 277 953 365 12 1,607
Ballston 4,519 1,809 3,046 667 10,040 2,422 1,440 4,400 1,699 9,960
Braddock
Rd.
2,832 782 830 215 4,659 589 566 2,801 927 4,884
Clarendon 2,091 872 1,233 638 4,833 721 774 2,821 947 5,262
Court
House
3,308 1,200 1,844 440 6,792 1,393 887 3,177 1,302 6,758
Crystal
City
3,749 2,367 4,888 797 11,801 4,295 1,828 3,906 1,682 11,712
Dunn
Loring
2,389 749 724 140 4,002 504 453 2,240 815 4,012
East Falls
Church
2,602 697 613 140 4,052 247 408 2,528 819 4,001
Eisenhower
Ave.
863 405 594 121 1,983 450 281 817 324 1,872
Franconia-Springfield 4,055 1,531 787 171 6,543 430 856 3,959 1,466 6,711
Greensboro 317 233 803 147 1,501 708 288 371 143 1,511
Huntington 4,912 1,131 629 187 6,858 319 724 4,311 1,375 6,730
King
Street
2,538 1,562 2,091 735 6,926 1,551 1,350 3,043 1,115 7,060
McLean 753 338 1,069 118 2,278 932 299 716 271 2,218
Reagan National
Airport
837 2,184 1,902 1,331 6,255 1,442 2,208 1,784 443 5,876
Pentagon 5,338 2,353 5,839 394 13,924 6,026 1,817 4,922 612 13,377
Pentagon
City
5,532 2,985 3,247 1,365 13,130 1,469 2,601 6,889 2,216 13,174
Rosslyn 3,898 2,842 6,427 1,202 14,369 5,720 2,385 3,927 1,581 13,613
Spring
Hill
429 236 445 116 1,226 344 222 459 190 1,216
Tysons
Corner
617 631 1,750 635 3,632 1,351 903 1,154 378 3,785
Van Dorn
St.
1,846 414 300 112 2,673 202 304 1,654 534 2,695
Vienna 6,306 1,750 1,051 264 9,371 500 1,005 5,747 2,003 9,254
Virginia
Square
2,088 731 996 272 4,087 691 538 2,002 745 3,976
West Falls
Church
1,882 516 233 58 2,689 96 269 1,751 558 2,674
Wiehle-Reston
East
5,075 1,345 1,593 278 8,291 912 928 4,693 1,594 8,126
Va. April
totals
68,803 30,498 43,575 10,648 153,524 33,591 24,287 70,436 23,750 152,064

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