VRE ridership still far below pre-pandemic levels

The pandemic continues to have negative impacts on public transportation, and Virginia Railway Express commuter system is proof of that.

The average number of daily trips in February 2020 was more than 18,000, according to VRE data. The average this October was just under 3,000.

Still, that’s more than the double the average number of trips taken in October 2020, which was about 1,400.

During an Operations Board meeting this month, CEO Rich Dalton said there’s no improvement on the horizon when it comes to those numbers.

Low ridership numbers have resulted in a loss in revenue.

VRE revenue is more than $2 million below budget — that’s down nearly 50%.

Federal COVID-19 funding has helped to ease the revenue shortfall.

D.C. Metrorail system is also seeing fewer riders, down to 81 million annual trips this year compared to more than 301 million in 2019. Metro doesn’t expect to return to a pre-pandemic level of riders until after 2025, according to its most recent projections.

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