Metro Rail ridership surges in June


The ridership numbers for Metro buses and trains for June 2012 have been released. The gist of it: bus ridership is flat (but with increases on the Silver Line and Orange Line), rail ridership is way up and overall the system didn’t reach the number of boardings in June 2010 or June 2011.

On the rail side, the new Expo Line helps explain some of the increases with weekday boardings increasing to an average of 16,569 in June even though the Farmdale and Culver City stations did not open until June 20. There was about an average of 11,000 weekday boardings in May.

There were also significant gains on Metro’s other four rail lines. Here are the charts and here is the web page with all the stats.

Rail Systemwide Ridership Estimates

June 2012 June 2011 June 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 362,904 321,626 326,663
Average Saturday Boardings 209,858 196,284 197,972
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 163,934 155,082 169,990
Total Calendar Month Boardings 9,326,015 8,481,237 8,658,429

Bus – Systemwide

June 2012 June 2011 June 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 1,123,977 1,156,643 1,156,866
Average Saturday Boardings 771,183 764,436 785,518
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 572,376 557,394 583,356
Total Calendar Month Boardings 29,748,939 30,733,462 30,926,539

Systemwide Ridership Estimates

June 2012 June 2011 June 2010
Average Weekday Boardings 1,486,882 1,478,269 1,483,528
Average Saturday Boardings 981,041 960,719 983,490
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 736,309 712,476 753,346
Total Calendar Month Boardings 39,074,954 39,214,699 39,584,968



11 replies

  1. Erik G.

    Locking gates is not going to have such a tremendous downfall effect that you imagine. If that were the case, every other sane city in the world like San Francisco, New York or Washington DC which has a locked gate system would not be in operation.

  2. @Al B: New Starts grants from the Federal Government are based on projected ridership. LA Metro’s ridership forecasts are checked against actual ridership after opening. Ridership drops (versus predicted), for whatever reason, will result in those models having to be re-examined, thus resulting in delayed applications and/or missed deadlines and possible denial of federal funds.

    And the ridership drops may not come from “cheaters” (because there may actualy not be as many as you, Zev, et al fear) but from persons who decide the system is too complicated to figure out, given the lack of TAP card availability, TAP card inter-acceptability, the varying designs of the stations and the opportunity to be locked out/double charged at un-staffed stations. There are certainly a number of monthly Metrolink riders who will bail out of public transportation altogether if they have to start buying daypasses to complete their journey to work. We saw evidence of this during the last LA Metro strike.

    Yes, there may not be any loss in revenue, but the now, what, $150 million(?) question is going to be “Will there be any increase in revenue?” and that is the big gamble, because it has/is-going-to cost $150 million plus $20 million per year to find out. And much, much more, if the stations have to be staffed and retrofitted to meet CalOSHA standards for those staff.

  3. “All gonna drop once the turnstiles are locked”

    Let them drop; less crowded trains for honest payers. 10,000 freeloaders is zero revenue to the system. Lose 10,000 freeloaders, still zero. Gain 5,000 of former freeloaders to start paying, that’s a plus. No negative effect in revenue either way.

    Revenue is way more important than ridership numbers. I’m not paying taxes to subsidize cheaters.

  4. Interesting. Personally, I have been using the bus more frequently (757 and 117).

  5. Someone from Curbed LA made this astute observation

    “Using the provided link to Metro data, if you adjust for the fact that June 2010 had 22 weekdays, versus 21 in 2012, the decrease is only 4,164 boardings for the month. Weekday boardings are actually up by 3,354 per day compared to 2 years ago.”

  6. “Just wondering if there is any known reason for the drop in bus ridership… any ideas?”

    More people riding motorcycles and scooters. 🙂

  7. I think one of the biggest factors in bus ridership going down is the opening of the new rail lines and elimination of bus service that duplicated the lines. June saw several lines consolidated and eliminated and also the opening of the Expo line, so riders who may previously have taken the bus in that area are now using light rail instead. Doesn’t explain *all* of the ridership drops, but that’s my guess as to what a contributing factor was.

  8. And is Metro seeing any big change to their farebox recovery ratio due to this? Is it making more money to lean towards self-sustainancy without jeopardizing the potential of fare hikes and tax increases or service cuts?

  9. Just wondering if there is any known reason for the drop in bus ridership… any ideas? I have heard the idea floated around about unemployment and people don’t have jobs to go to, but things were bad (possibly worse) two years ago too, and it seems to me that jobs alone shouldn’t account for the drop.