Ridership PowerPoint: Gold Line Foothill Extension’s first month of service


UPDATE: I subbed a different PowerPoint that has more info. 

Above is the Metro staff report on ridership in March on the new Gold Line Extension to Azusa you may have heard mentioned in the media or on this blog. Three really quick takeaways:

•Ridership is very strong with an estimated 5,724 to 6,264 new boardings on weekdays from the new stations over the first five weeks of service (see the slides in the above presentation to see how those numbers were generated).

•At last count, the Sierra Madre Village Station parking garage is now less than half filled — 37 percent at last count — with the parking demand shifting to the new stations to the east. If you’ve been waiting to get a spot at SMV, now’s the time.

•Seventy-one percent of the boardings at the new stations are new riders, the majority of whom previously made their trips by driving alone. And a majority of new riders are traveling between the new stations and Pasadena.

Staff gave a presentation to the Metro Board’s System Safety and Operations Committee on Thursday morning. A pdf of the presentation is below and there are some additional slides shown at the meeting. You can watch below (the presentation begins at the 17:22 mark):

15 replies

  1. I’ve been a bit confused by Metro citing boarding numbers. Are the 4,000-5,000 boardings at the six new stations individual taps with a card? If so, would that imply a ridership of between 8,000 and 10,000 on the extension in the first few weeks, if you assume that folks that board are likely to be making roundtrips?

    • Brian: I think you’re correct. However, Slide 9 of the document also shows that 71% of riders are new (i.e. they didn’t ride the Gold Line before the extension). This means that total ridership on the Gold Line should increase by 5,700-7,100 daily riders (or 5,724-6,264 riders according to the estimates on Slide 7). The graphic on Slide 4 shows an increase of around 5,000 daily riders on the entire Gold Line, from 47,500 to 52,500. The difference could come from a number of sources, from seasonal fluctuations to existing riders who stopped riding because of the crowded trains. Also, the ridership on the Gold Line could have been over-counted in January and February because of the bus bridge through Little Tokyo.

  2. Will this mean that the proposed trial charge for parking at Sierra Madre Villa will be dropped?

    • Hi Josh,

      Implementation of the pilot parking program at SMV isn’t expected to begin until later this year, and we’ll update if we hear anything different.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • A better question, IMHO, is what is Metro going to do with that parking structure? The demand for parking at that location is no longer 1,000 cars per day, it’s now only 300 cars per day, and that demand is never going to return to the earlier level. (Well, maybe once a year, for the Rose Parade.)
      So Metro now has a parking structure that is basically a white elephant, with enough demand to fill up less than two of the five levels. Are they going to maintain it as is? They should be looking for opportunities to redevelop it for other purposes. Maybe they can use the lower floors for mixed use services and retail. Maybe they can tear half of it down to build affordable housing. Any other ideas?

      • Disagree. I think you’re drawing far too many conclusions from a short time frame.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

      • True, the ultimate demand is unknown, but the trend is entirely predictable. Terminal stations in suburban areas (such as North Hollywood, Norwalk and Culver City) always have the highest drive access demand. Once the transit line is extended, the demand shifts to the new stations. The catchment area for the SGV parking lot has diminished from the entire San Gabriel Valley to just East Pasadena and Sierra Madre. I wouldn’t be surprised if some Gold Line riders from the SGV are still driving to SMV either out of habit or to avoid the parking shortages at the new stations. Also, half of the peak period Gold Line trains terminate at SMV so passengers who know the schedules can avoid the crowding problems on the trains. On the other hand, there may be some latent demand for the parking capacity at SMV from local residents who have been discouraged from parking there because the parking lot has been full in the past. So we’ll have to wait and see, but I stand behind my original prediction.

      • You pretty much also explained on your first paragraph why it will be pointless long term to add more parking to Azusa – Downtown & Azusa/Citrus stations. Demand on those lots will be lower in about 10 years when the line goes to Claremont/Montclair. It seems people fail to see the long terms effects.

      • ExpoRider, North Hollywood may be the suburban terminus station for the Red Line, but there is this little known route called the Orange Line that continues from North Hollywood that provides an extra 4000+ free parking, yet North Hollywood Red Line’s parking lot is still full on weekday morning by the fact that it’s the terminus rail station. However, with the impending paid parking program that will occur on SFV’s only two rail station at North Hollywood & Universal, it will be interesting to see if any of that demand shifts to the Orange Line lots.

  3. I may be alone here but it seems to me that a much larger number of riders get off at Union Station or continue past that point towards East Los Angeles. While a significant amount of users exit at Del Mar Station and Memorial Park, I really don’t think they are the majority of users.
    I am curious to see what future ridership survey results will be. You might ask an additional question: Which station is most convenient for your? I am guessing that it may not be the one that they board at… because of parking issues.

  4. @Ito_CALI, completely agree with you….that has been my observation as well. I would venture to say maybe 30-40% get off at various stations within Pasadena but an equal or more # folks get on to get to Union Station. This is in the typical peak hour at about 7am at APU. Not sure if the demographics change at different times in the day…might depend on what time of day the survey was done.

  5. And yet you’ve still doene nothing to accommodate this increased demand. In fact, trains in the morning are ruining less regularly and are not large enough for all riders. You don’t run frequently enough at all for taking the next train to be an option when you can’t get on the ones that are coming every 10 minutes if you’re lucky. Because of this complete lack of competence I’ve been late for work more times since March than the past three years combined. I think you should come up with ways to fix that before you start posting self-aggrandizing power points.

  6. I wish I had seen this earlier. I’m one of the new riders going to Pasadena; I was taking the 690 for 3+ years when at my last employer. I’d be taking the Goldline daily and did during the spring break time period from Irwindale. I’m now only taking it on Fridays and extremely frustrated. My prediction for ridership stats at the next meeting; parking usage: Citrus 100% by 6-6:30am, Azusa 100% by 6:30am, Irwindale 100%, by 7:30am (I’ve given up parking at Irwindale M-Th). Ridership flat to a slight decline as others like me, and several co-workers, have given up and are back to driving.

    Maybe they can partially recover this situation by creating new “shuttle” routes from Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas to APU/Citrus station. From what I’ve seen the 690 is now running with little to no passengers.