Local Lawmaker Says Metro Ridership Study Proves System Is Important to More Than Just Montgomery County

Local Lawmaker Says Metro Ridership Study Proves System Is Important to More Than Just Montgomery County

Data shows that 38 percent of all Metrorail trips on a typical weekday were taken by Maryland residents

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The Bethesda Metro station

Aaron Kraut

A report submitted this week to lawmakers in Annapolis shows about 40,000 daily Metrorail or Metrobus trips by Marylanders who live outside Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

District 16 Del. Marc Korman, who represents Bethesda and who has focused on Metro issues in Annapolis, said that though the figure represents a small percentage of the system’s overall daily boardings, it nonetheless shows the transit system is important to more people in Maryland than just residents of the closest-in suburbs of Washington, D.C.

“I think it demonstrates that WMATA is important to Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, but also has value to the rest of the state,” said Korman, who sponsored the bill earlier this year that required Metro and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) join together to create the report. “When Maryland invests in WMATA, it is not just doing it for Montgomery and Prince George’s residents.”

Maryland sends about $450 million in operating and capital funds to Metro each year. The report required by the bill looked into the specific Metro ridership habits of Maryland residents.

Metro and MDOT compiled the data using a 2012 Metrorail passenger survey and 2014 Metrobus passenger survey to figure out where Metro users who live in Maryland were coming from.

Of the nearly 1.2 million Metrorail and Metrobus boardings on an average weekday, the report said 3.3 percent are made by people who live in jurisdictions including Frederick, Charles, Calvert, Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, plus Baltimore City.

The report said that of those trips, 94 percent were taken on Metrorail while 6 percent were taken on Metrobus.

“Most rail trips from Maryland residents beyond Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties are on Metrorail, for both long-haul trips from outer stations, to circulation within the [D.C.] core,” the report said.

The report also provided details on Metro commuting patterns of Montgomery County residents.

Thirty-four percent of Montgomery County riders travel to Metro stations by foot, compared to 11 percent in Prince George’s County. Ninety percent of Metrorail trips during the morning rush hour period “are for work purposes,” the report said, and 82 percent of morning rush hour Metrorail trips are destined for stations in Washington, D.C.

Just 5 percent of all system riders commute from Washington, D.C., and Virginia into Maryland, according to the report.

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