Commuter trains attract riders even as numbers flag on Metro

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Local,Transportation,Kytja Weir,Metro,Metro and Traffic

Commuters are continuing to flock to local train services even as Metrorail numbers are declining.

MARC scored record ridership in April, topping a record reached in November, the Maryland Transit Administration said this week.

Virginia Railway Express has attracted increasing ridership every year in the past five years. The federal government's furloughs, plus the flexible schedules and telecommuting allowed in many government jobs, have reduced some ridership on Mondays and Fridays, said VRE spokesman Mark Roeber, but the train service has made that up during the middle of the week. Many trains have standing room only, and the train service has been subsidizing riders to take Amtrak trains to free up space.

However Ron Kirby, director of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, said commuter trains are different animals than subway lines. Daily commuters rely on Metro, but commuter train riders tend to be locked into fixed work schedules and do not use the services to take extra discretionary trips as they would on Metro. - Kytja Weir

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