DULLES, Va. (DC News Now) — A transportation project more than a decade in the making is wrapping up its first couple of days and, by some accounts, it’s been a big success.
Speaking with DC News Now, Metro Silver Line Extension riders describe the perks of the new rail line as convenience and comfort. They said the stations are clean, they get to their destinations with little trouble, and the new Silver Line rides were worth the wait.
“It’s really time-saving, and everything is just moving fast,” said George Mason University student, and Metro rider, Osinachi Osuigwe.
Osuigwe tells DC News Now the biggest change has been not needing to wait for a bus.
“Especially people who have early morning classes, you have to wait for the bus to come out and then take you to the train station,” she said. “That’s like an hour drive.”
Kay Roberts took the new train for the first time on Friday night.
“It’s so much easier,” she said. “It just makes everything a lot easier.”
Roberts was on her way to a dance class in D.C. She lives in Ashburn, and the new Metro station ensures that she doesn’t have to commute from the Wiehle-Reston East station.
“When I’m late I’ve always had to give myself an extra 45 minutes to get to Wiehle, never knowing traffic or anything,” she said. “Now [the Metro] is just right down the street.”
That connectivity to the city was a constant theme brought up by riders.
Maddie Sanborn, who commuted from D.C. to Ashburn to visit her parents, said, “it makes it a lot easier to get all the way from D.C. out here.”
Those responses are exactly what Metro hoped for, especially as it revealed on Thursday that ridership is struggling.
From July 2022-September 2022, Metrorail totaled just over 20 million rides — an increase from last year, but about 6% lower than what Metro budgeted.
“It’s fun,” Osuigwe said. “And not too many people crowd it. But I think it’s fun. People need to try commuting with a train.”
That message is one Metro hopes resonates with people as it seeks a ridership, and economic, boom from the Silver Line Extension.
The biggest test will be this upcoming week — Thanksgiving week, which includes some of the busiest travel days of the year. Now Loudoun County residents can take a nearby train to the nearby plane at Dulles International Airport.