Updated | Riders took fewer trips on Washington, D.C.’s Metro on Friday morning during President Donald Trump’s inauguration than did during his predecessor’s inaugurations, according to the transportation provider. The number during the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday was also higher. While local and federal agencies have not yet released estimates for how many people attended Trump’s inauguration, Metro figures suggest the total was far below those of Barack Obama.
As of 11 a.m. ET on Friday, Metro counted 193,000 rides, less than half the 513,000 it counted in 2009 and far fewer than the 317,000 it did for Obama’s second inauguration, in 2013. On Saturday, Metro counted 275,000 trips before 11 a.m., also surpassing the figure from the previous morning.
One image from Friday, said to have been pulled from the ceremony live stream, appeared to show large swaths of open space on the National Mall. Some reporters compared the image with that from 2009, which presented a stark difference. Images from the parade route also appeared to show low attendance.
Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Parks Service, tells Newsweek via email there was a pool camera at the top of the Washington Monument and that the image circulating online “would almost certainly come from that.”
(The Parks Service later retweeted a reporter’s post about the differences between the 2017 and 2009 crowds. That prompted a temporary shut-down of the Department of the Interior’s multiple Twitter accounts. The Parks Service has since deleted the retweet and posted an apology.)
An image that Newsweek pulled from the live stream, from another vantage point, appeared to show a fuller crowd.
Trump drew skepticism for saying, during his Inauguration speech on Friday, “You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the world has never seen before.” He was likely referring to the more than 60 million people who voted for him (still fewer than the amount that voted for Hillary Clinton), though his critics suggested he was referring to attendance at the ceremony.
In a press briefing on Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an Inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” He did not provide verifiable specific numbers. And in a speech at the CIA headquarters on Saturday, Trump criticized what he said were attempts to downplay the size of Friday’s crowd.
It is widely estimated that 1.8 million people attended Obama’s inauguration in 2009, and an estimated 1 million attended his second, in 2013. In 2001 and 2005, George W. Bush drew an estimated 300,000 and 400,000 people, respectively. And in 1993 and 1997, respectively, some 800,000 and 250,000 attended the inaugurations of Bill Clinton.
Prior to Friday’s ceremony, the U.S. Armed Forces Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Activities had estimated that between 700,000 and 900,000 people would attend the inauguration.
A spokesman for the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency tells Newsweek it had prepared for 800,000 to 900,000 people and would not be releasing additional figures.
Litterst, the Parks Service spokesman, says the agency no longer provides estimates for permitted events “due to the difficulty in accurately assessing crowd estimates for large events.”
As of Friday afternoon, police in the District had arrested 95 people, CNN reported.
Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington initially expected more than 200,000 people to participate in that event on Saturday. Citing organizers, D.C. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue tweeted Saturday morning that the anticipated number had jumped to 500,000. Just before 1 p.m. on Saturday, the D.C. government’s Inauguration Twitter account said Metro stations were “at full capacity.” By 4 p.m., Metro said its ridership for the day was at 597,000. Many more people participated in simultaneous demonstrations around the country and abroad.
A version of this article was originally published on January 20. It has been updated to include the number of demonstrators arrested in Washington, information about attendance along the Inauguration parade route and comments from the National Parks Service. It was later updated again to include attendance figures for the Women’s March on Washington, details about the temporary shut-down of the National Parks Service Twitter account and comments by Sean Spicer and Donald Trump.