Metro ridership update: systemwide up over a year ago and new record month for Gold Line but bus numbers remain flat

Update, 1:45 p.m. — three Metro Rail lines had record numbers (Gold, Blue and Red/Purple) and more info about how rail ridership is calculated have been added to the below post. 

 

Metro has released its ridership statistics for July. Bottom line: systemwide ridership is up  over a year ago, bus ridership is slightly less than it was in July 2010 and rail ridership is up 8.9 percent, with increases on all four lines.

And for the first time since it opened in 2003, the Gold Line averaged over 40,000 average weekday riders (42,900 to be exact) this past July. That’s about double the average weekday ridership the Gold Line had in July 2009, before the Eastside Gold Line opened and added to the line’s ridership. In addition, over the past couple of months, the Gold Line has been running more frequent and longer trains during the morning and afternoon rush hours. The Red/Purple Line subway and Blue Line also set monthly records and the Green Line had its second-best month.

It’s important to note, however, that buses have automatic counters that tally ridership. Metro Rail does not have those counters and monthly ridership is calculated based on rolling averages of counts done in the past month and and over six months prior. So the July numbers likely reflect earlier trends during the year — such as the spike in gas prices this spring.

On the bus side, it’s interesting that ridership is about the same as a year ago, despite two rounds of service changes in the past 12 months, including some service cuts. As we’ve said in the past, high local unemployment could also be a factor: Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate was 12 percent in June and the number of people without jobs had increased from the previous month. The U.S. unemployment rate for June was 9.2 percent.

Here’s a look at rail, bus and systemwide ridership over the past two years:

Rail Systemwide Ridership Estimates

  July 2011 July 2010 July 2009
Average Weekday Boardings 349,432 306,180 305,988
Average Saturday Boardings 204,340 201,586 191,879
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 169,499 170,480 163,424
Total Calendar Month Boardings 9,027,329 8,290,110 8,430,487

Bus – Systemwide

  July 2011 July 2010 July 2009
Average Weekday Boardings 1,093,577 1,100,260 1,136,753
Average Saturday Boardings 755,267 747,375 761,906
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 554,388 555,422 560,696
Total Calendar Month Boardings 28,974,201 29,619,433 31,234,512

Systemwide Ridership Estimates

  July 2011 July 2010 July 2009
Average Weekday Boardings 1,443,009 1,406,440 1,442,741
Average Saturday Boardings 959,607 948,961 953,785
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 723,887 725,902 724,120
Total Calendar Month Boardings 38,001,530 37,909,543 39,664,999

 

Charts showing ridership on the Orange Line, Red Line, Blue Line, Green Line and Gold Line are posted after the jump.

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Late night rail service to HardFest carried 16,000 concertgoers

Metro extended some of its rail service well past the usual midnight closing time on Saturday to accommodate  the crowds going to HardFest in Los Angles State Historic Park, i.e. the Cornfields. Agency staff put together the above video.

A few interesting stats:

•There were about 16,000 more boardings than usual on the Gold Line due to the concert — an increase of about 63 percent over normal Saturday ridership.

•There was also a significant bump in Red Line ridership from stations in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.

•Trains ran until 3 a.m. Metro believes about one-third of the concertgoers took the train. The late night service was provided because of an agreement between Metro and the concert promoter, who paid for the service.

•Longer trains than usual were operated on the Gold Line and there were not significant wait times after the show. Even after the Gold Line was cleared of returning passengers from the concert, there was still car traffic trying to get out of the area.

For those who took the train to HardFest, how did it go? Want to see more of this type of service? Discuss please.

 

Board approves Villaraigosa motion to protect Tier 1 bus service and study bus rapid transit corridors

The Metro Board has unanimously approved a motion by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that would protect all Tier 1 bus service — that is, major bus routes — for the rest of fiscal year 2011-12, which ends next July 1.

The motion also asks Metro staff to recommend five corridors for a bus rapid transit system. The type of BRT is not specified. Here’s the excerpt from the motion:

Direct the CEO to work with local jurisdictions to identify, analyze and recommend a minimum of five corridors in the County that can accommodate an effective Bus Rapid Transit system. The selection of the routes should include but not limited to the following:

  1. Ridership
  2. Station stops/spacing
  3. Physical attributes of routes & limited transfers
  4. Transfer convenience/demand
  5. Congestion and Level of Service levels
  6. General Public and community support
  7. Economic development opportunities around stations
  8. Partnerships with other transit agencies outside of the County

The CEO shall report back on the BRT system recommendations by the October 2011 MTA Board meeting.

Board Member Ara Najarian asked that once of the routes studied be a connection between the Orange Line terminus in North Hollywood and the Gold Line in Pasadena — a route that would go through Burbank and Glendale.

The motion also asks that Metro staff produce regular reports on several aspects of bus service, including crowding, cleanliness and on-time performance.

Metro teams up with HARD Summer Music Fest to offer late night service on Red and Gold Lines this Saturday

Why deal with parking when you can Go Metro? It's the easiest, safest and most affordable way to get to HARD Summer 2011.

Why deal with parking when you can Go Metro? It's the easiest, safest and most affordable way to get to HARD Summer 2011.

Party people listen up, Metro has partnered with HARD Events to provide extended late night service on the Red and Gold Lines on Saturday, August 6 for the HARD Summer Music Festival 2011.

The festival – featuring acts including Chromeo, Ratatat and Odd Future – takes place at the Los Angeles Historic State Park in Chinatown, steps away from the Chinatown Gold Line Station. Parking is limited and will likely be expensive, so HARD recommends going Metro to the event.

Metro will be running Red and Gold Line trains until just after the show ends around 2am. Other Metro rail lines will not be running extended schedules, so plan accordingly if you are connecting via the Blue or Green Lines.

Metro has set  up a helpful page for the extended service that will be updated with any changes, so be sure to check it out here. In addition, you can follow @MetroLosAngeles and @MetroLAalerts on Twitter for any updates.

And since this will be a party, it’s important to remember a few rules while riding the train:

  • No eating, drinking allowed while riding Metro.
  • To ensure public safety, Metro prohibits oversized items such as ladders, umbrellas, tents, chairs and coolers.
  • And, be respectful of other riders.

But most of all, have fun and take advantage of the extra service!

 

USC study compares air along Gold Line to air in subway — and finds both are far cleaner than freeway air

I’m not sure what to make of this: a new study from a USC professor concludes that the air on the Gold Line light rail is cleaner than the Red Line subway — and that both are far cleaner than the air along freeway corridors.

The reason for the difference between the subway and Gold Line is dust generated by the braking of the subway in the confined corridors of the tunnel. The news release doesn’t say much about an issue I think is important: time of exposure to the air on both systems.

At the bottom of the following USC news release, the researcher — Prof. Constantinos Sioutas — says that he supports expanding L.A. County’s rail system because it’s far cleaner than cars and buses.

A Breath of (Not So) Fresh Air

The subway’s air is not as healthy as the light rail’s – but it is still miles ahead of the smog on the freeway

Commuters on the Los Angeles Red Line subway are exposed to higher levels of potentially hazardous components of particulate matter in the air – in some cases twice as much – as commuters on the above-ground Gold Line light rail, according to a new USC study.

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Agreement reached to acquire key parcel for Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project

Late night work on the "Iconic Bridge" in Arcadia that will take the Gold Line tracks from the middle of the 210 freeway to the rail right-of-way on the south side of the road. Photo by Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

Two big news items this afternoon for a key Measure R transit project, the Foothill Extension that will take the Gold Line from its current terminus for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border:

1. After months of negotiations, the Foothill Extension Construction Authority has reached an agreement to purchase land in Monrovia needed for a rail/maintenance yard for the Gold Line.

The timing is good. The Construction Authority — an independent agency building the project — needed to have the land in order to receive Measure R funds from Metro.

2. Foothill Extension staff on Friday recommended awarding the contract to build the line to a Kiewit – Parsons Joint Venture. The Board of Directors that oversees the Construction Authority is scheduled to vote on the $485.8-million contract at its meeting on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at Arcadia City Hall.

Attentive readers will recall that Kiewit oversaw work last weekend partially demolishing the Mulholland Drive Bridge over the 405 — a job  finished 17-plus hours ahead of schedule. Construction work on the rail bridge over the eastbound 210 began earlier this summer and work in earnest on the rest of the line is scheduled to begin in 2012 with a projected completion date of 2015.

I’ve posted both news releases from the Construction Authority after the jump.

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Rail disruptions aplenty this weeked, riders beware!

Lots of rail work happening this weekend, so if you’re planning on riding (perhaps to a Go Metro Weekend destination?) take heed to the info in this post.

Friday after 8:30pm

  • Purple Line only runs between Wilshire/Western & Wilshire/Vermont due to maintenance in Downtown stations.  As a result, Red Line will operate on a modified every 20 min schedule and single track between 7the Street Metro Center & Union Station. More info here.
  • Blue Line only runs between 7th Street Metro Center & Wardlow due to necessary tree trimming in Long Beach.  Bus shuttles will serve Wardlow, Willow, PCH, Anaheim, 5th, 1st, LB Transit Mall, Pacific. More info here.

Saturday

  • Blue Line only runs between 7th Street Metro Center & Wardlow due to necessary tree trimming in Long Beach.  Bus shuttles will serve Wardlow, Willow, PCH, Anaheim, 5th, 1st, LB Transit Mall, Pacific. More info here.
  • Gold Line will run every 20 minutes during the day due to maintenance on the Pasadena segment. More info here.
  • Gold Line will run every 30 minutes at night due to maintenance on the Pasadena segment. Departure times will be :24 and :54 northbound from Union Station and :14 and :44 soutbound from Union Station. More info here.

Sunday

  • Blue Line only runs between 7th Street Metro Center & Willow due to necessary tree trimming in Long Beach.  Bus shuttles will serve Willow, PCH, Anaheim, 5th, 1st, LB Transit Mall, Pacific. More info here.
  • Gold Line will run every 20 minutes during the day due to maintenance on the Pasadena segment.  More info here.

Construction scheduled to begin tonight on bridge over 210 for Gold Line Foothill Extension

The Foothill Extension will take the Gold Line from its current terminus in Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border. It’s a project funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.

The Santa Fe Railroad's Super Chief crosses the old bridge over the 210 freeway's eastbound lanes in 1971.

The last station on the Gold Line at present is at Sierra Madre Villa in the middle of the 210 freeway. The old Santa Fe rail right-of-way continues east along the 210 for about a mile. The new bridge will carry the tracks over the 210′s eastbound lanes as the tracks curve south toward downtown Arcadia, where there will be a new station — the old bridge was torn down years ago because of seismic concerns.

The Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the independent agency building the line, is currently selecting a contractor to build the rest of the line. The Authority says the scheduled completion date is 2015.

Here’s the news release about the bridge from the Construction Authority, which we received late Friday:

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON I-210 GOLD LINE BRIDGE

After nearly a year of design work, permit approvals and hiring of subcontractors, crews will start work on the I-210 Gold Line Bridge next week. The 584-linear foot bridge crosses over the eastbound lanes of the I-210 Freeway between Baldwin and Santa Anita Avenues, and will facilitate connection between the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in East Pasadena and the future Arcadia Station. It is the first component of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project from Pasadena to Azusa to move from design to construction.

Over the next few months, crews will clear the center and southern freeway medians, build a 500 foot long temporary retaining wall, and then start work on the massive foundations for the bridge structure. Intermittent late-night closures of the Eastbound I-210 Freeway will be necessary during the year-long bridge construction. The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority will issue regular construction notices to update the community on bridge construction activities and schedules.

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L.A. soccer fans hop on the Gold Line to the Gold Cup Championship

Fans celebrating on the Gold Line. Go Metro!

Fans celebrating on the Gold Line. Go Metro!

Soccer fans crowded onto Gold Line platforms and trains on Saturday as they headed to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to watch U.S. versus Mexico at the 2011 Gold Cup Championship.

Metro transportation planner Andres Di Zitti was working that night making sure crowds made it safely to and from the event – and he snapped these pictures of fans going Metro to the game.

And despite the U.S. loss at home (Mexico won 4-2), crowds were respectful and calm.

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Go Metro to the Gold Cup Championship, Saturday, June 25

The U.S. and Mexico are facing off this Saturday in the Gold Cup Championship game, and Metro’s got you covered with Gold Line service and shuttles to the Rose Bowl. Check out the details in the press release below:

Take Metro Gold Line to the Gold Cup Championship this Saturday, June 25

On Saturday, June 25, Go Metro to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena without any trouble for the 2011 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup soccer match championship game.

Twelve teams participated in the Gold Cup competition, but on Saturday it will be down to the final two teams: United States and Mexico. The teams will go head-to-head and the champions will get the chance to compete in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup soccer tournament held in Brazil.

It’s easy to get there. Take the Metro Gold Line to Memorial Park Station. Free shuttles will start at 3 p.m. from Parsons Engineering parking lot at 100 West Walnut St., Pasadena, just two blocks from the station. You can follow the guide signs to the shuttle buses. Kick off is at 6 p.m. Shuttle buses will be continuous from 3 p.m. until about two hours after the end of the match, meaning that they will be available during the game as needed.

So kick off your Saturday evening with no parking hassles and traffic and instead take the Metro Gold Line to the Gold Cup Championship and cheer!

For more detailed information visit rosebowlstadium.com. To plan a trip call 323.GO.METRO or visit metro.net and click on the Trip Planner.