Running more Red Line trains has helped increase ridership, despite Metro warnings to the contrary last year, new data suggest.
Since Metro began sending all Red Line trains past Grosvenor-Strathmore to Shady Grove last December, doubling rush hour service through Rockville, ridership has increased 4% at the stations seeing more trains and shorter waits.
Trains are less crowded and are in fact more likely to arrive on time given fewer issues turning trains around in the middle of the line and more consistent time spent on platforms with riders spread evenly across more trains.
Before, riders might be packed in on a train going to or from Shady Grove, while a train that started or ended at Grosvenor-Strathmore could be basically empty as it passed through Bethesda.
All this comes with little impact on ridership at Grosvenor-Strathmore. Ridership there was relatively unchanged, Metro spokesman Ian Janetta said in an email.
Metro had warned the increased service would not significantly help ridership, and could create problems managing trains at Shady Grove, claims Montgomery County had called “incomplete and mistaken.”
A presentation due to be given to the Metro Board on Thursday acknowledges Montgomery County’s projections were largely correct.
“Red Line stations west of Grosvenor have seen 3% increased ridership, with Twinbrook experiencing ridership increases as high as 8% during the January-June 2019 time frame,” the Metro Board documents said.
Parking usage also increased 4%, with the largest increases at White Flint and Twinbrook.
Had the same drivers gone to Grosvenor-Strathmore to find a seat under the old schedule, it would have meant more traffic on Interstate 270 or Md. 355/Rockville Pike.