Gender and Metro ridership: more women ride than men, with some exceptions

gender_v_income-01 (1)

The above chart is based on Metro’s 2012 Customer Satisfaction Survey and focuses on the issue of ridership by gender. The gist of it: more women than men overall ride Metro although there are notable exceptions: higher-income riders tend to be male, as are riders with a car available to them.

Recently, Transportation Nation reported the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey which revealed a gender gap in transit ridership: Although women make up 47 percent of the workforce, 50.5 percent of transit riders are women.

“Higher income riders tend to be choice riders who chose to ride Metro even though they have access to a car” said Jeff Boberg, of Metro’s Research Department.  “We have also found out, through focus groups and other surveys, that women tend to factor personal security higher than men.  We have also found that people who ride on Metro buses and trains feel safer on the transit system than those who don’t.  This could at least partially explain the gender gap at higher incomes.”

A greater proportion of Metro riders are in the lower income brackets, which accounts for the overall female percentage of 52%, despite much lower percentages in the higher income ranges.

What do you think? What are the reasons that more choice riders tend to be men? Comment please!

7 replies

  1. The really interesting demographic statistics would be to look at who is taking the train during what hours. I notice: mornings tend to be 9-5ers, afternoons tend to be the same plus lots of schoolkids. Not sure who rides at noon. Later in the evening (after 8PM), I see mostly men.

  2. Am I interpreting this quote correctly? “We have also found that people who ride on Metro buses and trains feel safer on the transit system than those who don’t.”
    ^I am reading that as saying, “People who don’t ride metro are more afraid of it than people who do” — maybe Metro needs to get these people to feel comfortable with not riding transit so they can give it a try?

  3. it doesn’t surprise me that higher income women don’t ride metro as much, they’re all afraid of it and would rather drive. i (btw, i’m a woman) say this because whenever i talk to my friends about taking metro they all look at me like i’m in trouble, or that i’m going to find myself in trouble. but i continue to take metro, although i generally do feel less safe and have more of a guard up at night.

  4. September Nine,
    There are plenty of valid areas of research, including Blue Line breakdowns and rider trends related to gender. Safety and perception of safety are issues that affect female ridership. This infographic and research brings that to light, and will hopefully inform Metro’s decisions. As a woman, I appreciate research that will make me feel safer as I hop on a late night purple line to get home from work. I’m guessing you’re a dude.

  5. And the whole thing that we get from this data so that we can improve our public transit system is…absolutely nothing.

    A fine example of wasting tax dollars in collecting useless data that does absolutely nothing.

    How about some real statistics like how many times the Blue Line was delayed due to mechanical problems last year!