By Bristol Glasgow, Bridget Griffith and Lucie Peyrebrune
SILVER SPRING, Md.– The federal government was shut down for 35 days at the start of this year, making it the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
As a result of the shutdown, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is out approximately $14 million.
The average daily Metro ridership is normally 613,000, but it dropped 16 percent to due to the decreased demand from federal employees no longer using it to commute to work.
WMATA’s average daily revenue is $3.8 million before operating costs.
A loss of $400,000 puts a substantial dent in their already-tight budget.
Of the 2.8 million nationwide federal workers in the United States, 21 percent work in the D.C. area. 380,000 of those were furloughed across America, with 160,000 based in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area– one of the reason Maryland and Virginia Senators persistently called on Trump to reopen the government.
Approximately 19 percent of the federal workers in the D.C. area use WMATA to get to work.
“[The shutdown] reduced the number of riders,” said Allison Moses, who sometimes takes the Metro to work.
Metro was also unable to pass out SmartBenefits to furloughed workers. These benefits give an incentive for federal workers to use metro and without them Metro may lose more riders.
Metro was also unable to work on some environmental projects that they had planned, since the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Interior were partially shut down.
They couldn’t meet with the National Park Service to determine what to do about the deteriorating Georgetown Foundry Trestle Bridge or submit their escalator canopy designs, either.
With the shutdown at least temporarily ended, WMATA should expect them back on the buses and trains.