Fourth of July riders set pandemic record on Metro

Red-white-and-blue revelers packed the National Mall Sunday for the annual Independence Day fireworks show — and many of them took Metro to get there.

The transit agency said it saw a pandemic-record high ridership during the holiday. More than 210,000 trips were taken on the rail system, Metro said in an update Monday afternoon. That’s the highest single-day ridership since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, the number of Metro riders paled in comparison to the pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, the Metro system recorded more than 400,000 riders on July 4.

Last year, visitors were discouraged from watching the fireworks show on the National Mall because of coronavirus restrictions on crowds.

Overall, Metro ridership sharply fell amid the virus-related restrictions — down about 85% from pre-pandemic levels.

Last month, the Metro Board of Directors approved a series of changes that’ll go into effect later this summer aimed at luring riders back. The changes include the extension of hours until midnight seven days a week starting this month, and until 1 a.m. on weekends starting in September. In addition, Metro will run trains more frequently during peak hours and offer a flat $2 fare per ride on weekends.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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