Another three months have passed, so it’s time for another look at LACMTA rail ridership. Here’s the last three years of raw data, and the rolling 12-month average for weekday boardings.
For weekday ridership, Blue Line ridership picked up a little from lows earlier this year, but the Green Line slipped a little. The Gold Line more or less held steady.
After a couple years of solid ridership gains, the Red Line has dropped off quite a bit in 2014. This might be due to the fare gate locking program resulting in fewer scofflaw riders.
Weekend ridership largely reflected the same trends as weekday ridership, with the exception of the Gold Line, which has seen considerable weekend ridership growth over the last 9 months or so. This may be due to the more frequent weekend service that Metro started running in 2013.
The star is the Expo Line again. After leveling off in the second half of 2013, weekday Expo Line ridership resumed its climb in the first half of 2014. In terms of boardings per route mile, the Expo Line, in its third year of operations, is now at about 90% of the utilization of the Blue Line – 3,603 boardings per mile for Expo, and 3,978 for Blue. The Expo Line achieves greater boardings per mile than any other modern LRT system in the country, and hit that level of ridership in less than year.
It seems possible that when Expo Phase 2 opens, the Expo Line will become LA’s most productive LRT line by boardings per mile. And of course, Regional Connector is only going to strengthen the LRT network’s appeal.
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I find it very interesting that the line that goes from nowhere to nowhere (Green) and has at its best a 15 minute headway (and goes to 20 off-peak) has equal ridership with the line (Gold) that has “stimulated development” and runs on 6 minutes headways at peak then 10 late before running a 20 minute service late at night.
Green goes from nowhere to nowhere 100% grade separated. Gold goes from somewhere to somewhere-ish (Union Station isn’t ideal for most commuters, hence the RC) with a painfully slow segment along Marmion Way. For commuters, speed matters. Metro really needs to work on progressively increasing grade separations and signal priorities – on Marmion Way for the Gold Line, between Pico and USC on Expo, and pretty much everywhere on Blue. Rapid transit needs to be rapid. Making it so has taken a back seat to system expansion so far, but Metro should take a serious look at it in a measure R2.
They need to reroute the green line to get closer to LAX and extend it on the other end to Norwalks metrolink station. This would boost ridership.
I wouldn’t say the Green Line goes from nowhere to nowhere. It goes through some pretty dense residential areas and connects to the commercial district in El Segundo. It doesn’t go anywhere that’s high on a tourist’s or urbanist’s priority list, but it’s useful for the people riding it. I think it would benefit from some infill stations on the sections where there are long gaps – like say Western, Atlantic, Paramount, and Bellflower. The airport will hopefully be taken care of by the APM, and longer term, hopefully by some good planning regarding future lines along Lincoln & Sepulveda.
I agree on the Gold Line; the speed restriction on Marmion Way is ridiculous. There are also the painfully slow curves between Chinatown and 1st Street just beyond Little Tokyo, all of which are unfortunately staying after Regional Connector is done. (Dream: a straight shot alignment from 1st/Alameda split on Regional Connector to Union Station via Hewitt St ROW.) There’s also the crappy curves near Indiana (why not just tunnel right to 3rd St) and weird stop spacing in East LA (Maravilla? No stop at Eastern?).
Also agree on Measure R2. Speed & reliability on Flower & Washington are going to become bigger and bigger problems as time goes by.
Nitpick: Houston had higher per-unit-length ridership (5,000/weekday-mi) until it opened its extension last year.
Hehe yes, and I am taking advantage of that technicality 🙂
Honestly, though, I’m glad that Houston’s system is doing well, and I hope the future lines prove to be just as useful!