WASHINGTON’S SUBWAY SYSTEM AND THE FEDERAL RIDERSHIP
The subway system in the Washington Metro Area has its share of problems that range from the mundane to the top news story of the day. The system is aging and in need of major repairs. The ridership is probably what you would expect from a city that houses the seat of our national government -the home of the President of the United States, the Congress, and also where the majority of Federal agencies reside bringing in workers from the District, Maryland, Virginia and various other states across the country.
It was hoped that the subway system would reduce the number of cars on the roads and highways of the Washington Metro area. However, the traffic jams are some of the worst in the nation which raises the question – who is using the subway? Apparently, there are lots of federal workers who depend on the subway system to get them back and forth from their civil service jobs. The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia are partners in trying to make the subway system user friendly by extending services to other commuting areas within the tri-state area that were not a part of the original red, blue and orange lines. The blue line, the orange, the red line, the green line, the purple and silver lines currently make up the metro subway system.
With the subway system expanding, the news is that as federal employees continue to leave the Federal Government due to retirement, the ridership for the metro is dwindling because Federal employees being the largest workforce in the county, makes up the majority population of those using the subway. It might have been a good idea for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to have a conversation with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to forecast who would be taking the metro and who made up the greatest ridership. The mass exodus of Federal employees due to retirement could raise some serious concerns for metro and the expansion of the system. Entities who need to talk in Washington usually don’t realize that they need to talk until the damage has been down. The subway system is expanding and more and more Federal workers are retiring and fewer and fewer job applicants have interest in the Federal Government. We don’t know what the future holds for WMATA, but it just might be that there will be a lot of trains traveling on the red, blue, orange, purple and silver lines with a lot of empty seats.
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