D.C. Transit and Roadways Overwhelmed by Cherry Blossom Tourists

Metro had the highest ridership numbers in more than seven years last Sunday as hundreds of thousands of cherry blossom enthusiasts crowded the system.

1 minute read

March 29, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Washington, D.C.’s Metro rail system saw its busiest Sunday since 2015 last weekend as visitors swarmed to see the District’s famous cherry trees in bloom and attend the Blossom Kite Festival, reports Justin George for The Washington Post. “The rail system serviced more than 340,000 trips on Sunday, said transit agency spokeswoman Sherri Ly. That’s only 20,000 fewer than Wednesday, when Metro reported a pandemic-era high of 360,000 paid trips.”

As George explains, “Passenger counts meant long waits for some riders, but they were an encouraging development for a rail system that has lost about half its ridership since the pandemic began.” 

The agency says it deployed extra trains and personnel to handle the crowds, which overwhelmed some popular stations. “Metro’s Blue, Orange and Silver lines experienced repeated delays, while the crush of crowds forced the rail system to close entrances to the Smithsonian station and make it exit-only for hours while transit officials urged riders to walk to nearby stations.”

As for those choosing to drive, conditions weren’t much better, George writes: “interstate tunnels and bridges were bumper-to-bumper while Hains Point and other Tidal Basin access points were transformed into virtual parking lots for hours.”

Monday, March 27, 2023 in The Washington Post

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