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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:59 am

Metro records 779,787 trips on Inauguration Day

The Associated Press

The subway in the nation's capital recorded 779,787 passenger entries to the system on Inauguration Day, about 70 percent of ridership on Inauguration Day in 2009.

The Metro system recorded an all-time high ridership four years ago, counting 1.12 million trips.

Metro says that, unlike four years ago, Inauguration Day fell Monday on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. That meant more people were off work and not commuting.

Metro hasn't said where Monday's total falls on its list of all-time high ridership. But the day doesn't even make it into the top 20, which includes days when there were Washington Nationals home baseball games, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and the state funeral for President Ronald Reagan. More than 830,000 people rode trains on each of those days.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says Monday's total is about 50,000 more than an average weekday and three to four times greater than ridership on other holidays.

Metro says the difference between a regular day and Monday, though, was that most people were trying to use a small cluster of stations. That meant lines at some stations that snaked for blocks. Four stations were also temporarily closed because of crowding and because of delays caused by a train that broke down on a line in northern Virginia and a signal problem. Metro says on a regular weekday, ridership is more evenly distributed among the system's 86 stations.