MTA ridership dips under shutdown

Revenue impact lessened because monthly passes common

October 03, 2013|By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

Hundreds of fewer commuters have been taking MARC trains and transit buses from Maryland into Washington since the federal government shutdown Tuesday, according to the Maryland Transit Administration.

On Wednesday morning, ridership numbers reflected a 10 to 25 percent decline on MARC trains and a 50 to 60 percent dip on buses, compared to earlier in the week, the MTA found.

Ridership on the Brunswick line went from 3,489 riders on Tuesday morning to 3,172 riders on Wednesday morning, officials said — a 10 percent decline.

On the Camden line, ridership went from 1,800 passengers on Monday morning to 1,479 passengers on Wednesday morning — an 18 percent decline.

On Thursday morning, Camden ridership had rebounded some, to 1,575 passengers, while Brunswick ridership had continued its decline, to 3,027 passengers, said Paul Shepard, a MTA spokesman.

Specific ridership numbers for transit buses were not available, the MTA said.

The impact on MTA revenue hasn't been calculated yet, but officials believe it will be blunted by the fact that many regular riders — and "most federal employee commuters" — use month-long MARC passes and "10-trip" bus tickets that are valid for six months.

"If it was strictly day-to-day [ticket purchases], you would have a really good barometer of what the fall off was, but it's not," Shepard said.

Shepard said the MTA is going to maintain existing train and bus schedules through the week, but will reassess that schedule on Monday, given the declines.

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