Ridership on Metrorail has dropped on weekends since Metro started an aggressive push this summer to repair the aging rail system.

From July through November, ridership fell 6.4 percent, with an average weekend ridership of 569,231 trips compared with 608,384 in the same period last year, according to data from the transit agency. It's also the lowest level in at least four years.

It's the "excruciatingly painful" delays from the track work that are causing people who have other options to flee the system, not the soured economy that Metro has been blaming, according to a former executive who asked not to be named.

Changing ridership
Fiscal yearWeekend ridershipChange from prior year
July-November 2008576,370--
July-November 2009603,8844.8 %
July-November 2010608,1860.7%
July-November 2011608,3840%
July-November 2012569,231-6.4%
Source: Metro

"To purposefully impose delays and advertise that fact -- even for something as necessary as track work -- and not expect riders to flee the system is to poke your head in the sand," said the ex-executive.

But spokesman Dan Stessel said there is no evidence that track work is driving the decline. "For some people, I'm sure track work causes them to change their plans. There hasn't been a significant dropoff in ridership attributed to track work."

Instead, he said the weekend numbers appear to be down due to unusual events this year that drove ridership down -- and unusual events last year that drove those numbers up. This year, Hurricane Irene wiped out ridership almost entirely when it hit on a Saturday in late August, he said, while last year the system had a surge of people for Comedy Central's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" march.

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(AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Tracy Wilcox)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-06-23T11:34:40-04:00" data-date="2017-06-23T11:34:40-04:00">20 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/university-of-florida-asks-students-to-evaluate-emotional-risk-of-campus-events/article/2626917">University of Florida asks students to evaluate 'emotional risk' of campus events</a> </h5> </div> </div> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-12"> <div class="mb-2 text-center"> <a href="/the-story-behind-planned-parenthoods-big-bad-investment-in-jon-ossoff/article/2626916"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-dfaf659c81835ad9a08dc31fa07b9ca1.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-dfaf659c81835ad9a08dc31fa07b9ca1.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-dfaf659c81835ad9a08dc31fa07b9ca1.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-dfaf659c81835ad9a08dc31fa07b9ca1.jpg" alt="It has just burned a whopping $735,000 on behalf of Jon Ossoff. (AP Photo/David Goldman)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-06-23T11:32:20-04:00" data-date="2017-06-23T11:32:20-04:00">20 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/the-story-behind-planned-parenthoods-big-bad-investment-in-jon-ossoff/article/2626916">The story behind Planned Parenthood's big, bad investment in Jon Ossoff</a> </h5> </div> </div> </div> <div class="row"> <div class="col-12"> <div class="mdc--rev mb-2" data-rev-slot-name="article_more_*" data-desktop-size="[728x90]" data-tablet-size="[300x250]" data-mobile-size="[300x250]"></div> </div> </div> <div class="row"> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-13"> <div class="mb-2 text-center"> <a href="/white-house-reporters-not-satisfied-with-off-camera-briefings/article/2626901"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-5dde2caecdef989b64586e5d11373698.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-5dde2caecdef989b64586e5d11373698.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-5dde2caecdef989b64586e5d11373698.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-5dde2caecdef989b64586e5d11373698.jpg" alt="The White House Correspondents' Association is "not satisfied" with recent White House briefings that have been held off camera. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-06-23T10:18:20-04:00" data-date="2017-06-23T10:18:20-04:00">21 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/white-house-reporters-not-satisfied-with-off-camera-briefings/article/2626901">White House reporters 'not satisfied' with off-camera briefings</a> </h5> </div> </div> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-14"> <div class="mb-2 text-center"> <a href="/rand-paul-lasik-surgery-shows-health-prices-fall-when-consumers-can-shop/article/2626898"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-22f2315a828923c9d7d3ba22482b8a62.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-22f2315a828923c9d7d3ba22482b8a62.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-22f2315a828923c9d7d3ba22482b8a62.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-22f2315a828923c9d7d3ba22482b8a62.jpg" alt="Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Friday that one key element that needs to be included in the Senate healthcare bill is a connection between consumers and healthcare providers. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-06-23T08:49:50-04:00" data-date="2017-06-23T08:49:50-04:00">23 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/rand-paul-lasik-surgery-shows-health-prices-fall-when-consumers-can-shop/article/2626898">Rand Paul: Lasik surgery shows health prices fall when consumers can shop</a> </h5> </div> </div> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-15"> <div class="mb-2 text-center"> <a href="/john-mccain-concerned-over-latest-f-35-grounding/article/2626889"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-904291b6971b1fb73d53cacea2940f71.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-904291b6971b1fb73d53cacea2940f71.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-904291b6971b1fb73d53cacea2940f71.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-904291b6971b1fb73d53cacea2940f71.jpg" alt="Sen. John McCain said, "I was concerned to learn that the Marine Corps has suspended F-35B operations at MCAS Yuma due to problems with the aircraft's Autonomic Logistics Information System." ( (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Farbo)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-06-23T07:22:00-04:00" data-date="2017-06-23T07:22:00-04:00">1 day ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/john-mccain-concerned-over-latest-f-35-grounding/article/2626889">John McCain 'concerned' over latest F-35 grounding</a> </h5> </div> </div> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-16"> <div class="mb-2 text-center"> <a href="/aarp-warns-senators-against-supporting-gop-healthcare-bill/article/2626877"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-84d16e13a0ee14f7bdd45a44e94dae9b.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-84d16e13a0ee14f7bdd45a44e94dae9b.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-84d16e13a0ee14f7bdd45a44e94dae9b.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-84d16e13a0ee14f7bdd45a44e94dae9b.jpg" alt="The group also complained that the bill would make cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-06-22T21:02:40-04:00" data-date="2017-06-22T21:02:40-04:00">1 day ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/aarp-warns-senators-against-supporting-gop-healthcare-bill/article/2626877">AARP warns senators against supporting GOP healthcare bill</a> </h5> </div> </div> </div> <div class="row"> <div class="col-12"> <div class="mdc--rev mb-2" data-rev-slot-name="article_more_*" data-desktop-size="[728x90]" data-tablet-size="[300x250]" data-mobile-size="[300x250]"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="col-md-5 col-lg-4 hidden-xs-down"> <div class="mdc--rev" data-rev-slot-name="article_more_sidebar_*" data-desktop-size="[300x600],[300x250]" data-tablet-size="[300x600],[300x250]" data-mobile-size="[300x600],[300x250]"></div> <div class="mdc--rev mt-2" data-rev-slot-name="article_more_sidebar_*" 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