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Jon Stewart rally attendance about 215,000; breaks 19-year-old Metro ridership record

November 1, 2010 |  2:21 pm


Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" drew appoximately 215,000 people, CBS News is estimating. That's almost three times more attendees than the Glenn Beck "Restoring Honor" rally held in Washington D.C. in August.

Although those estimates are unscientific and spotty at best, perhaps a better way to judge the size of crowds on the National Mall is to use a tool that includes turnstyles. ColbertAnd what a better turnstyle than that at the Washington D.C. subway system that helped bring all those people to the Mall?

  According to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 825,437 Metrorail trips were taken Saturday, which broke a 19-year record for ridership. In June 1991, Metro reported a one-day tally of 786,358 trips, many of which involved people heading to the Mall for a huge Desert Storm rally to protest the first Iraq war. In 1997, on the day of the Promise Keepers rally at the Mall, the Metro system counted 725,909 trips.

The average ridership for the D.C. Metro on a Saturday is about 350,000, WMATA said in a statement Sunday. That would mean about 237,000 additional riders made roundtrips Saturday which would jibe with CBS's estimates.

Co-host of the rally, comedian Stephen Colbert, calculated a much different number. "Early estimate of crowd size at Rally: 6 billion," he tweeted Saturday.

-- Tony Pierce

Funniest signs and images from the Jon Stewart / Stephen Colbert rally
Thousands descend on National Mall for Stewart's and Colbert's 'Sanity' rally

Top photo: Thousands participate in the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on the National Mall in Washington.  Photo: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Second photo: Satirist Stephen Colbert speaks in front of a massive puppet of himself during the rally. Credit: Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images