LACMTA Rail Ridership Update – January 2014

People seemed to like the rail ridership update last October, so let’s make it a quarterly thing. That conveniently lets this edition include January 2014, getting a “real” month of data (not affected by major holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas).

First, the raw data:


Blue Line for December 2013 and January 2014 is anomalously low. Red/Purple Line is pushing all-time highs. Like the Blue Line, the Gold Line was a little weak to finish out the year. Expo Line Phase 1 ridership seems to have stabilized at about 27,000 on weekdays – beating 2020 projections by over 10%. Again, the Blue & Green Line data for late 2012 is questionable – but it’s all we have to go on.

Interestingly, all lines posted strong weekend ridership over the last 3 months. Green Line broke 30,000 on Saturday and 20,000 on Sunday for the first time. Likewise, Gold Line broke 30,000 on Saturday and 25,000 on Sunday, and Expo Line broke 20,000 on Saturday and 16,000 on Sunday. Red Line broke 110,000 on Saturday but both Red & Blue Lines were very weak on Sunday.

Here’s the rolling 12-month average:


The dips in the Blue & Green Lines are due to the questionable data from late 2012 falling out of the rolling average. We probably won’t really know the meaning of that data for at least another 6 months.

Again, boardings per mile is a better way to look at productivity. Here’s the update for that (I’ve gone to a rolling 12-month average here too):


Expo Line is starting to level off a little bit. As I’ve said before, I expect it to increase when Phase 2 opens.  On the other hand, Gold Line will probably fall off when Foothill 2A opens, because that piece will probably have lower productivity per mile.

Another potentially interesting thing to look at is how Saturday & Sunday ridership stacks up against weekday ridership. Here’s the raw data for the boardings per mile:


And here’s Saturday & Sunday boardings, as a percent of weekday boardings, based on the 12-month rolling averages.



Unfortunately, the results prove to be more chaotic than hoped for, so it’s hard to see any trends. Given how variable the data is, take these notes with a big grain of salt. Expo Line is closing in on Blue Line weekend boardings per mile more quickly than for weekdays. Its rolling 12-month average for Saturday is up to about 75% of weekdays, better than any other line.

Blue and Expo Lines both have Sunday ridership about 55% of weekdays, while the other three lines are about 45%. Note that the Gold Line started with higher weekend percentages, which then declined as weekday ridership grew faster than weekend ridership (even though ridership was growing for all days). It will be interesting to see if Expo Line weekend ridership percentages hold up or decline the same way.

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