Update on Eastside Gold Line ridership

In his daily email to employees, Metro CEO Art Leahy had this nugget about ridership in the first week on the new Eastside Gold Line:

The Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension began revenue service on Monday, November 16, 2009. Passenger activity for the first week of operations averaged about 11,000 daily boardings. Roughly 33% of passengers rode through Union Station. The most heavily used stations were Union Station and Atlantic, followed by Little Tokyo/Arts District and Soto.

I think it’s worth noting a couple of things about this.

First, Metro’s own projections are that the new Gold Line will carry about 13,000 riders each weekday by the end of the first year of operations. To help reach that goal, Metro officials say they plan to continue aggressively marketing the line.

Second, my own experience as a former print reporter and now a Metro employee are that ridership projections are basically educated guesses. Nearly all the ones that I’ve encountered over the years have proven over time to be wrong. Some are too low, some are too high. So I tend to view one week’s worth of numbers as mildly interesting — although it’s always good to monitor trends over time.