Among the numbers MDOT most often uses to define the Purple Line are 70 trains per day and 51,200 passengers per day in the opening year, 2020. They say it will grow to 74,160 riders per day on the same 70 trains 20 years later. Thus the starting average load carried by each two-car train calculates to 731 passengers/train and grows to 1,059 in a couple of decades.
Nearby property owners who dread the passing of 70 trains a day in each direction need not fear an increase in that figure.
MDOT is fond of pointing out that trains will travel the length of the Purple line in barely over an hour. They emphasize that traveling between Bethesda and New Carrollton by bus today takes more than an hour and a half. (You have to travel into downtown Washington, D.C., and back out).
Not too long ago, private bus companies sought routes which might attract a very profitable 50 passengers per mile per day. If there were even 800 daily riders, a bus route would have been established long ago.
The Purple Line is not replacing a Bethesda-New Carrollton bus route because bus operators never could find sufficient riders. How will MDOT support an exclusive right of way (designed to handle 200 trains per day) with a daily ridership that might be closer to 800 than 51,200?
Robert J. Riker, Chevy Chase