The L.A. Metro System Had a Record-Breaking Number of Riders on Saturday
Women's March attendees showed up in droves to metro stops all across the city heading downtown.
Many Women's March L.A. participants tried out the rails rather than fighting to find a parking spot for Saturday's event downtown. According to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the L.A. Metro rail carried a total of 592,000 passengers on Jan. 21 — 360,000 more riders than on a typical Saturday, most of whom were heading downtown with signs in tow for the Women's March.
In anticipation of the march, the Transportation Authority added service cars and amped up security to assist what event organizers first estimated would be 75,000 participants. To accommodate what ended up being closer to 750,000 marchers, additional rides and extra rail cars were added into service. Some riders complained on social media of overcrowded cars ("sardines in a can" was a popular reference), but most shared positive experiences, and there was even some chanting and cheering along the way. Rider @loren_roth said the Metro crowds were "terrifying, but also amazing," and others applauded the Transportation Authority for adding extra cars, including @hannahthinks: "Thank you Metro for adding cars for us today!"
“As much planning as we did, the heavy ridership still required the good spirit and patience of our patrons, and we appreciate that," Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said in a press release. He added, "We are very pleased overall that Metro was able to serve so many people on Saturday.”
Among the busiest rail stations in Downtown Los Angeles were the 7th Street/Metro Center Station, which serves the Red, Purple, Blue and Expo lines; Pershing Square and Civic Center stations, which carry Red and Purple line passengers; and Union Station, which serves the Red, Purple and Gold lines, as well as Metrolink. Beyond downtown, the North Hollywood and Universal/Studio City stations for the Red Line were the busiest.
The Los Angeles CMTA shared data that ridership began to spike at 7 a.m., dipped between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then peaked again at about 5 p.m.
It remains to be seen if this record-breaking day will help bolster Angelenos' attitudes about public transportation going forward, but here's hoping the rider population continues to grow and ease the strain of L.A. traffic.