Metro: 525K passengers for Pope's first day in DC

Metro: 525K passengers for Pope's first day in DC
© file photo

The Washington, D.C., Metrorail subway system says it carried 525,00 passengers during the first day of pope's visit to the nation's capital. 

A pair of major incidents that caused hours of delays on Monday and Tuesday raised fears the Capitol-area subway system would not be able to handle the expected rush of passengers during Pope FrancisPope FrancisLouisiana GOP bring in big names to block Democratic governor Pompeo, Pope Francis urge protections of religious freedom The Hill's Morning Report — Trump takes aim at whistleblower MORE's historic visit, but the agency that runs the system said Day 1 was a success. 

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"As of 9pm, >525,700 trips taken so far, ~20% lower than same period last Wed," the agency tweeted. 

The D.C. Metrorail system typically carries about 751,000 passengers per day, making it the second-busiest subway system in the U.S.  

Many federal workers have been encouraged to telework during the pope's visit to ease congestion in the region, however. 

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Metro said Thursday its parking garages that are typically full on weekday mornings still have availability as regular commuters heeded the message. 

"As of 7 a.m., parking is available at all Metro garages & lots. Here's additional info by station. #wmata #popeindc," the agency tweeted. 

The D.C-area transit agency has said it plans to run extra non-rush-hour trains on Thursday to handle the expected passenger increase that is anticipated because of the pope's visit. 

Francis is on the first leg of a six-day trip to Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia that is scheduled to last until Sept. 27.

The pontiff gave a speech to a joint session of Congress on Thursday morning.