Washington's transit system reported that it set a new rail ridership record for a Saturday on the day of the Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert rally on the national capital Mall.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority counted 825,437 passenger trips on October 30, the date of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, compared to 510,020 on August 28, the date of Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally.
That tends to bolster CBS figures that suggested the Comedy Central duo was a much higher draw than the Fox News host. A crowd size count commissioned by the television news network estimated 215,000 attended the Stewart/Colbert rally Saturday. A similar estimate for CBS found 87,000 attended the Beck rally in August.
The Stewart/Colbert rally produced the 17th busiest day in the Washington Metro's history and broke a Saturday ridership record that dated to June of 1991, when the subway logged 786,358 rides on the day of the Operation Desert Storm victory celebration on the Mall.
WMATA says that Saturday ridership generally averages about 350,000 riders. Weekday ridership on the Metro rail system has been running in the mid 700,000s since the beginning of the recession. As recently as the Spring of 2008, the system was bursting at the seams on many weekdays with over 820,000 riders per day.
The all-time record for ridership on the Metro rail system is 1,120,000, recorded on Jan. 20, 2009 -- the date of President Obama's inauguration.