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/Mel Evans, File)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-11-17T10:28:30-05:00" data-date="2017-11-17T10:28:30-05:00">9 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/former-trump-aide-says-he-made-up-story-about-chris-christie-fetching-mcdonalds-to-embarrass-him/article/2641028">Former Trump aide says he made up story about Chris Christie fetching McDonald's to embarrass him</a> </h5> </div> </div> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-12"> <div class="mb-2 text-center mx-1"> <a href="/if-turkey-buys-the-russian-s-400-missile-system-it-cant-be-allowed-to-buy-the-f-35-fighter-jet/article/2641027"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-10106414c4bb8f630c13d72608b4ee92.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-10106414c4bb8f630c13d72608b4ee92.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-10106414c4bb8f630c13d72608b4ee92.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-10106414c4bb8f630c13d72608b4ee92.jpg" alt="The Turkish defense secretary claimed last weekend that the Russian S-400 air defense missile systems "have been bought." (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-11-17T10:15:30-05:00" data-date="2017-11-17T10:15:30-05:00">9 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/if-turkey-buys-the-russian-s-400-missile-system-it-cant-be-allowed-to-buy-the-f-35-fighter-jet/article/2641027">If Turkey buys the Russian S-400 missile system, it can't be allowed to buy the F-35 fighter jet</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 mx-1"> <a href="/treasury-paid-nearly-1-million-for-harassment-other-claim-settlements-in-congress-in-2017-alone/article/2641021"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-b1994e9df60b81bbcce83b727a338f0d.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-b1994e9df60b81bbcce83b727a338f0d.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-b1994e9df60b81bbcce83b727a338f0d.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-b1994e9df60b81bbcce83b727a338f0d.jpg" alt="In the first 10 and a half of months of this year, the Treasury Department paid $934,754 to Capitol Hill employees who were the victims of various work issues. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-11-17T09:16:00-05:00" data-date="2017-11-17T09:16:00-05:00">10 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/treasury-paid-nearly-1-million-for-harassment-other-claim-settlements-in-congress-in-2017-alone/article/2641021">Treasury paid nearly $1 million for harassment, other claim settlements in Congress in 2017 alone</a> </h5> </div> </div> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-14"> <div class="mb-2 text-center mx-1"> <a href="/stephen-colbert-rips-al-franken-there-are-no-good-people-left/article/2641018"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-22c88448aeca43e372c16280ca1ca29d.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-22c88448aeca43e372c16280ca1ca29d.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-22c88448aeca43e372c16280ca1ca29d.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-22c88448aeca43e372c16280ca1ca29d.jpg" alt=""Late Show" host Stephen Colbert slams Sen. Al Franken over the sexual harassment allegeations against him. "Every day it seems like we find out about another high-profile sexual harasser, and today is no exception," Colbert said. "Come on, Franken! I guess there are no good people left." (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-11-17T08:38:30-05:00" data-date="2017-11-17T08:38:30-05:00">11 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/stephen-colbert-rips-al-franken-there-are-no-good-people-left/article/2641018">Stephen Colbert rips Al Franken: 'There are no good people left'</a> </h5> </div> </div> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-15"> <div class="mb-2 text-center mx-1"> <a href="/roy-moore-digs-in-boosted-by-top-alabama-republicans/article/2641010"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-0b9de0e88246c888d08334f76a0601fa.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-0b9de0e88246c888d08334f76a0601fa.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-0b9de0e88246c888d08334f76a0601fa.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-0b9de0e88246c888d08334f76a0601fa.jpg" alt="Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore dug in his heels Thursday amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations and demands from national GOP leaders that he stand aside. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-11-17T00:01:00-05:00" data-date="2017-11-17T00:01:00-05:00">20 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/roy-moore-digs-in-boosted-by-top-alabama-republicans/article/2641010">Roy Moore digs in, boosted by top Alabama Republicans</a> </h5> </div> </div> <div class="col-sm-6 mb-2 mb-sm-0 postroll-16"> <div class="mb-2 text-center mx-1"> <a href="/you-should-want-to-cut-business-taxes-after-all-its-you-who-has-to-pay-them/article/2640982"> <picture class="img"> <source media="(min-width: 960px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/1060x600-8c056fc93d738832622a41f599b9c16e.jpg"> <source media="(min-width: 768px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-8c056fc93d738832622a41f599b9c16e.jpg"> <source media="(max-width: 480px)" srcset="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/360x205-8c056fc93d738832622a41f599b9c16e.jpg"> <img src="http://cdn.washingtonexaminer.biz/cache/730x420-8c056fc93d738832622a41f599b9c16e.jpg" alt="You, your friends, and your neighbors pay every dime of the corporate income tax. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)"> </picture> </a> <small class="text-uppercase text-muted"><a class="article-date text-muted" tabindex="0" rel="nofollow" href="#" data-href="/by-date/2017-11-17T00:01:00-05:00" data-date="2017-11-17T00:01:00-05:00">20 hours ago </a></small> <h5> <a href="/you-should-want-to-cut-business-taxes-after-all-its-you-who-has-to-pay-them/article/2640982">You should want to cut business taxes; after all, it's you who has to pay them</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_*" data-desktop-size="[300x600],[300x250]" data-tablet-size="[300x600],[300x250]" data-mobile-size="[300x600],[300x250]"></div> </div> </div> </div> <!-- close post_roll --> <div class="mdc--rev mt-1 mb-2" data-rev-slot-name="article_more_footer" data-desktop-size="[728x90]" data-tablet-size="[728x90]" data-mobile-size="[300x250]"></div> </div> </div> </div> </footer> </article> <footer id="dfooter" class="footer bg-inverse py-1 hidden-print" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/WPFooter"> <div class="container"> <div class="row"> <div class="col-md-8 col-md-offset-8"> <div class="mb-2 px-1"> <svg id="logo-footer" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" x="0" y="0" width="797.6" height="264" viewBox="0 0 797.6 264" class="washington-examiner-logo-text-only"> <style> .st0-bottom { fill:#FFFFFF; } .st1-bottom { fill:#FFFFFF; stroke:#FFFFFF; stroke-width:4.2974; } </style> <g id="Outer"> <g id="washington-examiner-text"> <path class="st0-bottom" 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