Metro News Release

For immediate release: April 18, 2008

Metro details improvements to meet future capacity needs

Imagine another quarter of a million people crowding onto Metro trains during the next 25 years. That’s the prediction of Metro planners who are anticipating a 42 percent growth in ridership, based on regional land use forecasts and travel trends. Metrorail daily ridership is expected to reach nearly 1 million passengers by 2030.

“More people than ever before are relying on Metro for their travel needs,” said General Manager John Catoe. “We need to expand system capacity to keep up with increased ridership. More eight-car trains, more parking, better access to Metrorail stations and expanded Metrobus service to supplement rail are just some of the things we can do to accommodate more riders,” he said.

If Metro is unable to expand the fleet of rail cars beyond the currently funded 50 percent eight-car trains, several rail lines will approach or exceed capacity by 2020. The rail fleet needs to be expanded to allow for 75 percent eight-car trains by 2015 and 100 percent eight-car trains by 2020. To be able to run all eight-car trains, Metro would need to purchase 220 more rail cars.

“We want to be sure that sufficient Metrorail system capacity is in place to meet the demand, relieve passenger crowding and provide the very best ride to our customers,” Catoe said.

In addition to expanding the fleet of rail cars, Metro officials will brief the Board on Thursday, April 24, on the following improvements to increase capacity throughout the Metro system:

  • Implementing a Blue Line realignment to increase capacity at the Rosslyn portal;
  • Constructing core station improvements such as additional staircases, escalators, faregates, farecard vending machines and pedestrian tunnels;
  • Improving station access by expanding parking, bus access and bicycle and pedestrian facilities;
  • Expanding the region’s bus service and integrating with planned streetcar and light rail lines in major corridors to supplement Metrorail capacity; and
  • Planning and designing a new Potomac River crossing between Rosslyn and Georgetown with a new rail line downtown.


Metro officials plan to outline capacity needs for Metrobus and MetroAccess in July as part of a comprehensive10-year capital improvement plan.

News release issued at 12:18 pm, April 18, 2008.