Overall mass-transit usage across Northern Virginia declined ever so slightly on a year-over-year basis during the third quarter of 2019, according to new data, although most regional and local transit systems saw higher ridership.
Total transit ridership for the quarter was 21.1 million, down 0.3 percent from the same period in 2018, according to figures reported by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.
Total ridership on the Metrorail system was off 0.1 percent to 10.42 million for the quarter. Any year-over-year comparison has to take into account major projects in each of the two years:
• In August 2018, construction work reduced ridership on a segment of the Orange, Blue and Silver lines through downtown Washington, and over that summer there also was construction on portions of other lines.
• The summer of 2019 was impacted by station closures on the Yellow and Blue lines south of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Hard hit by the summer-of-2019 closures was Alexandria’s DASH bus service, which posted a 10-percent decline in ridership during the quarter because riders could not connect to certain Metro stations. Major construction work at the King Street Metro station also has impacted ridership.
Among other local bus services, Arlington Transit posted a 9-percent increase in ridership, Metrobus was up 4 percent, Fairfax City’s CUE system saw a 3-percent increase and Fairfax Connector’s ridership was flat.
Among bus services that primarily focus on longer-haul service (mostly for commuters), Loudoun County Transit saw patronage increase 9 percent while Omni Ride (Prince William County) posted a 2-percent decline.
Virginia Railway Express saw a 3-percent boost in ridership for the quarter