As Donald Trump and his press secretary battled reporters over the size of the Washington, D.C. inauguration turnout, Metro officials in Los Angeles Tuesday confirmed that giant crowds flooded downtown this past weekend for the Women’s March-Los Angeles with roughly 360,000 more riders boarding trains than on a typical Saturday.
“This was an amazing experience for our region, as well as for Metro,” said Metro board Chair John Fasana. “Whatever your political thoughts, it was exciting to see so many people exercising their right to demonstrate peacefully. And it spoke to the crowds that there was no violence and that despite crowding, at the end of the day our patrons were safe.”
Officials said riders remained upbeat despite crowded platforms and trains. A total of 592,000 people rode Metro on the day of the march.
Metro beefed up service and security to handle what organizers had first estimated would be about 75,000 marchers. As the numbers increased, the agency added rail cars and increased frequency of service, ultimately boosting capacity by 60 percent.
Organizers estimated at one point that as many as 750,000 people attended the downtown march.
The Los Angeles Fire Department pegged the crowd at “over 100,000” on the day of march, but has since updated that count to “approximately 350,000,” according to LAFD PIO Margaret Stewart.
Public and private buses also carried many marchers to the event. A spokeswoman said Metro bus service seemed to operate at typical capacity on Saturday.
–City News Service
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