This is great news.. ridership is booming despite a fare increase. Unfortunatley, if this continues additional capital funding will have to be found and local jurisdictions are "too cheap" to fund the needs and "too weak" to increase fares in such a way as to control growth in ridership:
Metro and D.C. Work to Improve City Transit
Updated: Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2005 - 4:06 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Metro's chief financial officer told the District of Columbia Council on Wednesday that ridership is up and revenues are running about $9 million above projections throughout the system.
Metro is on track to underspend its subsidies from area jurisdictions by about $13.5 million, through a combination of increased revenues and cost savings.
"We have expanded our bus service in the District of Columbia with several new routes," said Peter Benjamin, adding that his agency is working with D.C. Department of Transportation Director Dan Tangherlini on several projects.
Three light rail cars are under construction in the Czech Republic for use on the $16.1 million Anacostia Light Rail Demonstration Project. Negotiations are under way with CSX Corp. to acquire the rights of way to a freight spur that would be used for the nearly three mile line connecting Bolling Air Force Base to the John Phillip Sousa Memorial Bridge in Southeast Washington. Service could begin in the fall of 2006.
"We are also working with D.C. on a downtown circulator, and we've purchased 29 buses for that," said Benjamin. That crosstown service between the Union Station-Capitol Hill area and Georgetown will offer office workers and tourists shopping and dining opportunities that are currently out of reach due to midday traffic congestion. The service is expected to begin this summer.
"District residents ride transit, we have the second highest transit to work ratio in the country after New York City," Tangherlini said. D.C. residents account for 28 percent of Metrorail ridership, and 58 percent of Metrobus ridership. The city provides about 37 percent of Metro's overall funding.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)