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We’ve been getting a lot of requests for Expo Line ridership numbers since the extension from Culver City to Santa Monica opened on May 20. The gist of it: average weekday boardings increased from 29,047 in April to 45,876 in June, the first full month of service between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. See the above chart.
There were similar gains on weekends, especially on Sundays — with the number of average estimated boardings each Sunday rising from 15,965 in April to 35,995 in June. Sunday is obviously a big beach day in Southern California — and we had a mini-heatwave one weekend last month.
As would be expected, the Expo numbers helped boost Metro Rail ridership in June — with the Blue Line, Red/Purple Line and Gold Line also seeing increases. Metro Rail’s estimated monthly ridership peaked at 372,320 estimated boardings in Oct. 2013. The rail ridership numbers:
The Blue Line is Metro’s busiest light rail line. Here are the Blue Line numbers, which have seemingly rebounded in recent months — although not as high as its peak of 93,201 average estimated weekday boardings in Nov. 2012:
As for the overall Metro system ridership, the news wasn’t as good:
As has been the case since early 2014, the bus numbers have been declining. This mirrors national trends over the past couple of years. In the first quarter of 2016, rail ridership was up slightly across the U.S. while bus ridership fell, according to the American Public Transportation Assn.
No one knows for sure, but among the reasons floated are an improving U.S. economy (meaning more people have money to buy cars), transit service cuts due to funding issues and perhaps cheaper gas. As for Metro’s bus service in recent times, it was at about 7.3 million annual revenue hours in 2004, dipped to about 6.8 million hours in 2011 and is targeted at about 7.02 million hours in 2016.
One theory I’ll float: with more people driving to more jobs, perhaps riding in a bus in more traffic is less desirable. Feel free to comment on whether you think that theory holds water or is bound for the horse-hockey pen.
For those interested, this link offers plenty of ways to slice and dice Metro ridership estimates. Remember to hit the ‘submit’ button after setting your parameters.