From Anacostia to Tysons: Many ride Silver Line long and far to jobs in Virginia
Before Metro’s Silver Line opened over the summer, Jazmine Jenifer, 21, worked for her mother at Glamour Girls Hair Studio in Temple Hills, Md. Her job was “helping out” around the shop, she said, and her pay was “whatever my mother could give me.”
Which she realized was no way to make a living.
Now, with Metrorail extending into the relatively job-rich Tysons Corner area, Jenifer rides a bus from Fort Washington, where she lives, to the Green Line’s Branch Avenue station in Suitland. From there, she travels eight subway stops to the L’Enfant Plaza station in the core of Washington. Then she transfers to a Silver Line train, rides 14 stops to the Tysons Corner station, gets off and walks a short distance to her new workplace.
It’s an hour-plus trek in each direction, more than $12 a day in fares.
“It’s worth it,” said Jenifer, who was hired last month as a $9.25-an-hour cashier at the Nordstrom cafe in the Tysons Corner Center mall.
After “many, many hours” of work, Ross said, he noticed that a sizable number of passengers getting off at the five new Silver Line stations that week had begun their trips in Southeast Washington and Prince George’s. He narrowed his focus to the morning rush hours, defined by Metro as 5 to 9:30, and calculated daily averages.
Of the average 2,987 Silver Line riders who exited at the McLean, Tysons Corner, Spring Hill, Greensboro and Wiehle Avenue stations each morning, 432 of them, or 14 percent, had started their rides at 20 stations in the Anacostia area and Prince George’s, Ross discovered. Of the 432, he said, 126 got off at Tysons.
“The most common motivation for Silver Line riders from the east side is surely economic necessity, as most board at stations that draw riders from less affluent neighborhoods nearby,” Ross said on the Greater Greater Washington blog, where he posted a summary of the data. “These ridership figures are a reminder of how painful it is when low wages meet land use policies that separate jobs from affordable housing.”