Poll results: is transit attracting enough new riders?

Results of The Source's poll of transit riders.

A few weeks back I noticed an interesting chart on the America Public Transportation Association [APTA] website on how long people had been riding transit. The chart was compiled using data provided by local agencies across the U.S.

In particular, I was struck by their numbers showing that a lot of people — about 30 percent of people surveyed nationally — had been riding transit continuously for one year or less. That suggests that for whatever reason(s), people are willing to try transit.

I posted a similar poll on The Source. As of Thursday, there were 364 responses and the results are above. That’s not exactly overwhelming and certainly not scientific.

With those caveats, it’s still intriguing to compare our numbers to the numbers from APTA. In our poll, about 15 percent of those who responded said they had been riding transit continuously for a year or less and 70 percent had been riding continuously for two years or more.

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Curb the car? The debate continues on European style transportation policy

The front page story from Monday’s N.Y. Times about Europe’s transportation policies that push the car to the perimeter is still sparking discussion.

Yesterday the Times invited nine experts to debate the issue: should the historically car crazy U.S. adopt a similar policy?

It’s obvious from the commentaries that one reason this story has legs is that it’s a divisive topic that is tangled up with all sorts of other contentious issues. Gentrification, taxation, central planning vs. market forces and generational differences are all mixed up making a cocktail that you either love or hate.

Good points are brought up on both sides of the issue. Urban planning professor Robert Bruegmann notes that while Europe’s dense central cities may be implementing anti-car policies, more Europeans are actually moving to the suburbs and living in American style sprawl.

One of the most interesting takes on the issue comes from Laurie Volk and Todd Zimmerman – two researchers who look at housing market trends and demographics. They think that while most Americans currently flinch at the thought of curbing the car, a cultural change is coming with the Millennial generation.

Millennials, now the largest generation in the nation’s history, are the first generation raised in the auto utopia of the ’70s and ’80s. Many millennials have vowed to spare their offspring a similar auto-oriented childhood. We predict that millennials in much larger percentages than predecessor generations will remain in urban neighborhoods when they become parents, fighting for school excellence and robust transportation alternatives to the private automobile.

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Readers think Europe has it right: make transit better even if it makes driving harder

NY Times Article Poll Results

Yesterday’s New York Times article on Europe’s efforts to shore up transportation alternatives at the expense of driving stirred up a lot of conversation around the net – including right here on The Source. Our informal poll asking readers whether the agree with European transportation policy racked up over 170 votes since it was posted.

The overall feedback from readers? The majority (72%) agree that it’s worth inconveniencing the private car to encourage more alternatives.

A smaller percentage (26%) think that we should invest in more transportation alternatives – but not at the expense of cars. Of course, that begs the question: is it possible to make alternatives attractive when policy makes driving super convenient?

Only 2% feel that the U.S. way is the automobile, and it’s best to leave it that way.

Of course, our readership is biased – according to our Reader Survey, over 70% of our readers are regular transit riders. Opinions may vary on L.A. hot rod enthusiast blogs.

The poll is still open, so please feel free to add your two cents. And after the jump, a few highlighted comments from readers.

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@MetroLosAngeles Twitter Tuesday

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday, a weekly feature here at The Source in which we’ll round up the latest Metro related tweets in the Twitterverse. To follow Metro on Twitter just search for @MetroLosAngeles. We recommend adding the #MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets to get our attention.

And when it comes to complaints, the best way to get them addressed is to use the Customer Comment Form on Metro.net. There you can provide all the detail needed so that customer service reps may best address your problems.

Remember to tag your tweet pics with #artoftransit. This one is courtesy of @inc1979.

Remember to tag your tweet pics with #artoftransit. This one is courtesy of @inc1979.

#ArtOfTransit

inc1979: Photo: M is for Morales & @MetroLosAngeles http://tumblr.com/xdx33vlsgw

neelsodha: Hey @metrolosangeles check this subway station’s stairs (Sukharevskaya) on the Russian Metro http://t.co/iieawNo

thedudeabides: Union station @metrolosangeles http://instagr.am/p/GY2LS/

inc1979: Photo: @metrolosangeles Del Mar Gold Line Station – Pasadena http://tumblr.com/xdx34gr7q5

@FredCamino It’s @Metrolink at Union Station @metrolosangeles #artoftransit http://img.ly/5oT5

javi_verified: Sitting in #LATraffic for not taking @metrolosangeles #artoftransit NOT http://instagr.am/p/GNMuZ/

zachbehrens: A reason I take @MetroLosAngeles instead of driving: the 101 Freeway (photo taken from bus). http://instagr.am/p/GPWA9/

thedudeabides: Red line @metrolosangeles http://instagr.am/p/GY2LO/

plusmetro: Transit Photo of the Day: Entrance to the #MetroLosAngeles Harbor Transitway Bus Services. #445 #Bus http://t.co/NbHiR8N

#MetroWin

stevenmwhite: Well, @metrolosangeles was so fast I got here 15 minutes earlier than expected. Gold Line was packed. Great to see that. #win

javi_verified: Full train in green line @metrolosangeles..good to know that LA is taking advantage of public transportation even when out for summer school

wesadena: 405 closure hysteria = Y2K freak outs. helpful @metrolosangeles website with countdown clock! http://bit.ly/ir3RXm

transit_tweets: @metrolosangeles The NICEST bus driver is at the wheel of the 217 Vermont/Sunset right now. She’s the best! :D

ale_schrader: Very excited about the Expo Line! Thanks, @metrolosangeles, for bringing mass #transit to L.A. http://yfrog.com/h4brzmyj

@PBunches Hey @metrolosangeles, you need to give an award to the female bus driver assigned to Route 720/Bus#9349 today. She’s a PRO! #jobwelldone

@blinkie @metrolosangeles and LA Sheriffs, good job on crowd control at Union Stn. Gold Cup crowds very orderly.

@ChicCircuit Heading to #IMATS on public transit. Easy breezy @metrolosangeles. Ain’t never seen a girl dressed up on the train? Get over it.

More tweets, including #MetroFail after the jump! Continue reading


@MetroLosAngeles Twitter Tuesday

Remember to tag your tweet pics with #artoftransit. This one is courtesy of @zachbehrens.

Remember to tag your tweet pics with #artoftransit. This one is courtesy of @zachbehrens.

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday, a weekly feature here at The Source in which we’ll round up the latest Metro related tweets in the Twitterverse. To follow Metro on Twitter just search for @MetroLosAngeles. We recommend adding the #MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets to get our attention.

And when it comes to complaints, the best way to get them addressed is to use the Customer Comment Form on Metro.net. There you can provide all the detail needed so that customer service reps may best address your problems.

#ArtOfTransit

zachbehrens: Escalator, @MetroLosAngeles Vermont/Sunset Red Line Station http://instagr.am/p/GGkap/

plusmetro: Customized my phone’s home, @metrolosangeles style. http://t.co/d8pmyjv

straycat888: The adventure begins! http://lockerz.com/s/111888056 #metrolosangeles #metrolink

fredcamino: Captured the @metrolosangeles Gold Line passing over the 101 on my way to Big Bear http://ow.ly/i/d6xk #artoftransit

zachbehrens: The @MetroLosAngeles Purple Line arrives. http://instagr.am/p/FxoqP/

#MetroWin

chadl2: I’m LOVING @MetroLosAngeles‘s new web feature – know exactly when your #NextBus is arriving via GPS http://www.metro.net/service/nextrip/

transit_tweets: @metrolosangeles last 2 S/B trips of Silver Line not showing up on GMaps! Thank god for NextBus.. http://yfrog.com/kg13848745p

veralusia: @metrolosangeles there’s a lady driver who runs the silver line in the morning & sings at the wheel. she’s awesome! #tellherboss

More tweets, including #MetroFail after the jump! Continue reading


Metro ridership shows slight uptick in May

Before I get to the latest ridership numbers, I wanted to include my daily nag to take our latest survey above — if you haven’t already. I suspect results from this poll, which I’ll discuss at a later date, may have something to do with the ridership numbers below.

As for the latest Metro ridership numbers from this past May, there was a slight increase over May 2010 (39,423,063 compared to 39,258,435). Most of the gains were on the bus side of Metro operations, but Metro Rail saw an increase, too.

Overall, Metro and many other agencies are still trying to reach ridership highs of 2008. On a national level, ridership was slightly up in the first quarter of 2011, according to stats compiled [pdf] by the American Public Transportation Assn.

The prevailing view among many agencies across the country is that the recession, unemployment, fluctuating gas prices, dips in funding for transit and accompanying service cuts have all impacted ridership in the past three years.

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@MetroLosAngeles Twitter Tuesday

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday, a weekly feature here at The Source in which we’ll round up the latest Metro related tweets in the Twitterverse. To follow Metro on Twitter just search for @MetroLosAngeles. We recommend adding the #MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets to get our attention.

And when it comes to complaints, the best way to get them addressed is to use the Customer Comment Form on Metro.net. There you can provide all the detail needed so that customer service reps may best address your problems.

#ArtOfTransit

Tracktwentynine: Hoping @metrolosangeles will consider this photo for their #artoftransit series: http://t.co/kfV2PN4

HunterKerhart: The @metrolosangeles Gold Line at Union Station, LA http://flic.kr/p/9STqvm

zachbehrens: Boarding a @MetroLosAngeles rapid bus in black and white. http://instagr.am/p/FdqrX/

#MetroFail

RobertMoranLA: I have often wondered why there are no benches at #metrolosangeles bus stops in LA…especially in downtown LA. #dtla

tedder42: Official Google Blog: (..) live transit updates in Google Maps http://bit.ly/jOY8my // doesn’t include @metrolosangeles :-/

#MetroWin

Dommy_in_LA: @miffyeats Hope the Bus isn’t getting you down too much! Nextbus.com web app for @metrolosangeles buses (not rail :() has saved my sanity!

chadl2: On @metrolosangeles this Sunday. Trying to be relaxed yet productive today.

misslisagfrench: it’s getting serious w/ @metrolosangeles now. i bought a tap card because i like what running up all those stairs is doing for my butt.

laurbannerd: Exactly what we need!!! @metrolosangeles: Downtown Metro Rail station to get snack bar this summer http://t.co/CAHyIRH

@misslisagfrench brings up a good point – Metro Rail staircases can save you from purchasing a gym membership! More tweets after the jump. Continue reading