When federal and regional officials were planning the Metro system, it took intense pressure from D.C. community and government leaders to persuade them to build a line serving low-income neighborhoods in the center of the city. Those neighborhoods, along what’s now known as the Green Line, are no longer so poor. But looking at Metro’s revenue, it’s clear why the Green Line wasn’t the highest priority of the system’s planners.
The map above, courtesy of Metro’s planning blog, shows average daily fare revenue by entry station. The cash cows are clustered in two areas: the downtown employment centers and the ends of the Red, Orange, Blue, Silver, and Yellow lines in the suburbs. The lowest-revenue stations are located mostly in outlying District neighborhoods and in the inner suburbs, particularly on the Green, Orange, and Blue lines.
Here’s the breakdown between morning peak and evening peak. First, the morning. (These maps are interactive, but they’re also a tad wider than the page, so you’ll have to scroll around a bit.)
Of course, revenue and profitability aren’t exactly the same thing. Shady Grove and Vienna may bring in tons of cash, but trains also have to traverse many miles of track to get to and from them, so maintenance costs are likely to be higher. Still, these stations provide a revenue double-whammy: Morning ridership from Shady Grove, for instance, is six times higher than from Congress Heights, while the average Shady Grove fare, at $4.90, is more than twice the average Congress Heights fare. As a result, revenue from Shady Grove is nearly 12 times higher than from Congress Heights.
Images from PlanItMetro