Metrorail on-time performance, quarter three
Metrorail on-time performance, quarter three

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People who ride Metro are increasingly dissatisfied as on-time rail performance dropped on all six lines between July and September, according to the agency’s latest Vital Signs report.

The drops coincide “with railcar shortages, speed restrictions, and service reductions following a fire to prevent bunching,” the report [PDF] states. Rail customer satisfaction fell from 73 percent in quarter two to 67 percent in quarter three, “attributable almost entirely to the reliability of the service.”

The bad news continues:

  • “The minimum car requirement was only met 10 out of 64 weekdays this quarter. Average weekday service was run with a shortage of about 50 cars.”
  • “Reliability was below target each month in Q3/2015, and 25 percent worse than the same quarter last year due to an increase in propulsion problems on railcars.”
  • “By the end of September over 50 cars were indefinitely ‘parked’ due to a lack of parts, an issue that continued into Q4/2015.”

The third quarter of 2015 covers July through September. During that time period, 52 of the 64 delivered 7000-series cars came into service, the report states.

A first quarter budget report [PDF], also prepared ahead of Thursday’s Metro board meeting, is similarly blunt about the challenges Metro is facing. “For the second month in a row, September produced low ridership levels, to a degree not seen in ten years. Overall weekday ridership was down 8.5 percent versus last year, and weekends were down 7 to 12 percent as 20-26 minute headways occurred on many lines.” The reason? Reliability:

It is difficult to tell how long, or how much, it takes for riders to react, but rail reliability began to decrease for customers beginning roughly with the start of the Silver Line and turning down particularly since May 2015.

These problems are hitting Metro where it hurts: the wallet. “Overall passenger revenues, including transit fares and parking fees, are down $11 million versus last year and $10 million versus budget,” the report says.

Good luck, Neal!

Screenshots via Metro