Washington Metro

The Washington Metro (or simply Metro), formally the Metrorail,[3] is a rapid transit system serving the Washington metropolitan area of the United States. It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which also operates the Metrobus and Metrorail services under the Metro name.[4] Opened in 1976, the network now includes six lines, 91 stations, and 117 miles (188 km) of route.[5][6]

Washington Metro
The system is known for its iconic vaulted ceilings.
Overview
LocaleWashington metropolitan area
Transit typeRapid transit
Number of lines6
Line number
Number of stations91 (7 more under construction)
Daily ridership221,200 (weekdays, Q4 2021)[1]
Annual ridership57,002,300 (2021)[1]
Chief executiveAndy Off
Headquarters600 5th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.
Websitewmata.com/rail
Operation
Began operationMarch 27, 1976; 46 years ago (1976-03-27)
Operator(s)Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
CharacterAt-grade, elevated, and underground
Number of vehicles1,318 railcars
Train length6 or 8 cars
Headway4–8 mins peak; 12–20 mins off-peak
Technical
System length117 mi (188 km)
No. of tracks2
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge[2]
Minimum radius of curvature225 feet (68.6 m)[2]
ElectrificationThird rail, 750 V DC
Average speed33 miles per hour (53 km/h)
Top speed75 miles per hour (121 km/h)
59 miles per hour (95 km/h) (Revenue service)
System map

Metro serves Washington, D.C., as well as several jurisdictions in the states of Maryland and Virginia. In Maryland, Metro provides service to Montgomery and Prince George's counties; in Virginia, to Arlington and Fairfax counties and to the independent city of Alexandria. Combined with its ridership in the independent Virginia cities of Falls Church and Fairfax, the Metro service area is largely coextensive with the inner ring of the Washington metropolitan area. The system is currently being expanded to reach Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County, Virginia. It operates mostly as a deep-level subway in more densely populated parts of the D.C. metropolitan area (including most of the District itself), while most of the suburban tracks are at surface level or elevated. The longest single-tier escalator in the Western Hemisphere, spanning 230 feet (70 m), is located at Metro's deep-level Wheaton station.[7]

In 2021, the system had a ridership of 57,002,300, or about 221,200 per weekday as of the fourth quarter of 2021, making it the second-busiest rapid transit system in the United States, in number of passenger trips, after the New York City Subway, and the fifth-busiest in North America. In June 2008, Metro set a monthly ridership record with 19,729,641 trips, or 798,456 per weekday.[8] Fares vary based on the distance traveled, the time of day, and the type of card used by the passenger. Riders enter and exit the system using a proximity card called SmarTrip.


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