Jon Stewart’s “Rally for Sanity” has smashed the record for number of trips taken on DC’s subway system on a Saturday.
By preliminary estimates, Metro recorded 825,437 Metrorail trips on Saturday. Whether it served any of those riders very well is different question. The demand for public transit to attend the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear — hosted by Comedy Central duo Stewart and Colbert — exceeded supply. Metro customers suffered long waits at various Metro stations throughout the city. Several even suffered injuries. Nevertheless, the new record fairly shattered the old record, set on June 8, 1991, when Washington played host to a victory celebration for U.S. troops who served in the First Gulf War. That day Metro recorded 786,358 trips. A 1997 Promise Keepers rally in the District has the third-place record, with 735,909 trips.
And not everyone made the trains.
“Of course, we’ll never know how many more people were turned away from using the subway (as was my group) because the cops were freaking out about how crowded the platforms were,” blogger Joe My God added on Sunday. “We ended up walking the hour or so from our hotel to the Mall and it was amazing to look down the side streets and see tens of thousands of people streaming up from all directions.”
NBC, however, tried to keep the numbers “in context.”
“Though Stewart and Colbert were big draws on Saturday, the population of the District and its reliance on Metro is increasing,” the network wrote. “Both the fourth- and fifth-place records for Metro ridership on a Saturday were set by recent Cherry Blossom Festivals: April 4 in 2009 and April 3 in 2010.”