Tag Archives: LACMTA

LACMTA Valley Bus Ridership – September 2016

Here’s our fourth update on ridership on some of the main bus routes in the San Fernando Valley. As a reminder, for north-south corridors, we have San Fernando, Van Nuys, Sepulveda, and Reseda; for east-west, Ventura, Sherman, Roscoe, and Nordhoff.

For more detail on the sausage-making involved in converting routes that cover multiple corridors to a number for a single arterial road, see the first post.

Here’s the raw data. As always, highlighted cells represent top 10 ridership months since January 2009. All routes put up their best months in the 2009-2010 period; this may be due to the recession reducing car ownership.

valley-raw-201609

Here are the 12-month rolling averages for weekdays.

valley-wk-201609

Saturday and Sunday 12-month rolling averages largely reflect weekday trends, as shown below. The previously noted uptick in Reseda ridership on weekends has reversed.

valley-sa-201609valley-su-201609

As discussed previously, the configuration of rapid routes on Van Nuys was changed in late 2014. Route 761, a rapid that went from Van Nuys in the Valley through Sepulveda Pass to UCLA in Westwood, was eliminated. At the same time, Route 734, the Sepulveda rapid, was extended from its previous terminus in Sherman Oaks through Sepulveda Pass to Westwood. Rapid service on Van Nuys was replaced with Route 744, a U-shaped route on Van Nuys, Ventura, and Reseda. An express rapid service, Route 788, serving the northern part of Van Nuys and connecting to the Orange Line, then running express on the 405 to Westwood, was also created.

LACMTAmap-2012LACMTAmap-2016

Here is the breakdown of weekday ridership on Van Nuys and Sepulveda by local and rapid on each corridor, and total local and total rapid on the two corridors combined.

valley-vns-201609

Since a longer time has passed, we can now also start to look at the 12-month rolling averages.

valley-vns-12mo-201609

The rapid route shuffle seems to have not had much impact on overall ridership trends. Weekday local ridership had already begun to trend down when the shuffle took place.

In contrast, it seems possible that weekend ridership has suffered. While Route 761 ran on weekends, Route 734 never has, and this was not changed when 761 was eliminated. Route 744 runs on weekends, but Route 788 does not; thus on weekends there is now no rapid service from the Valley to the Westside.

valley-vns-sa-201609

Again, we are speculating, but it appears that with the elimination of 761, riders who couldn’t cancel their trips and had no other option to get from the Valley to the Westside shifted to the Sepulveda local route, 234, producing a sudden jump in ridership. The increase in local ridership was smaller than the drop in rapid ridership, so overall ridership has trended down. However, the background trend has been a decline in ridership, so while possible, it is cannot be said with any certainty that the rapid route shuffle caused a decline.

LACMTA Bus Ridership Update – August 2016 Edition

Six months have passed, so it’s time for another LACMTA bus ridership update. As always, we start with the raw data. Highlighted cells represent the top 10 months for that route (since January 2009).

bus-raw-201608

Since the Expo Line to Santa Monica opened during this time, I thought it might be good to look at the monthly data in addition to 12-month rolling averages. Here are the weekday, Saturday, and Sunday raw data graphs.

bus-wkdy-201608bus-sat-201608bus-sun-201608

Here are the weekday, Saturday, and Sunday 12-month rolling averages.

bus-wkdy-12mo-201608bus-sat-12m-201608bus-sun-12m-201608

It’s impossible to say what the impact of the Expo Line is without polling riders; however, there is not a large change in the trend for any line except Wilshire. There is a seasonal drop in Wilshire ridership data during the summer, but it looks larger than normal this year. Looking at the Wilshire split data between routes 18, 20, and 720, it looks like there was a drop of a few thousand riders in 720 ridership after the Expo Line extension opened. The Expo Line would be a shorter ride from downtown LA to Santa Monica than route 720. Again, we cannot say if this is what happened without actually asking riders.

bus-split-wilshire-201608

There’s not much else new to say, so we’ll keep it short. Lines that have seen slight decreases continue to decrease; those that are steady seemed to keep holding. The Silver Line continues to grow slowly.

Here’s the percentage of trips on each arterial being served by the rapid route.

bus-share-201608

The share of riders served by the rapid routes continues to slowly rise on most corridors. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasing ridership on the rapid – it could be that both the rapid and local declined, but the rapid was more resilient.

That’s it for now; next up, Valley bus ridership.

LACMTA Rail Ridership Update – August 2016 Edition

Six months have passed, so it’s time for another LACMTA rail ridership update. Well, actually seven months, so we’ll throw August ridership in as well. As a reminder, bus ridership for the Westside and San Fernando Valley has been broken out into separate posts.

The last few ridership updates were snoozers because they just showed continuations of previous trends – generally, decent performance on the Expo and Gold Lines, and concerning ridership declines on the Red/Purple, Blue, and Green Lines. This time, we have more to talk about with two new LRT extensions; the Gold Line to Azusa opened in March, and the Expo Line to Santa Monica in May.

First, the raw data. Highlighted cells represent the top 10 months for that line (since January 2009).

rawdata-201608

Unsurprisingly, the Gold and Expo Lines both had top 10 months for every month after their extensions open. The Gold Line was already at all-time highs and the Expo Line was close. The Gold Line’s increase in ridership after the extension opened was very modest – about 4,000 riders, or 9%. The Expo Line jumped about 13,000 riders, over 40%.

Ridership declines on the Blue, Green, and Red/Purple Lines have reversed themselves a little recently, perhaps due to the better network effects created by the opening of the Gold and Expo Line Extensions. While ridership has remained well below peaks, it has increased enough to  nudge the 12-month averages up.

Here’s the rolling 12-month average of weekday ridership. Note that the rolling 12-month averages for the Gold and Expo Lines will understate the ridership increases due to sudden jumps occurring when the extensions opened, so we’ll include the raw monthly graphs too. Raw weekday ridership:

wkdy-201608

Rolling 12-month average weekday ridership:

wkdy-12mo-201608

Saturday and Sunday trends largely reflect the weekdays. Here’s the Saturday and Sunday rolling 12-month averages. Again, raw monthly graphs are included to show Gold and Expo changes. Raw Saturday/Sunday ridership:

sa-201608su-201608

Rolling 12-month average Saturday/Sunday ridership:

sa-12mo-201608su-12mo-201608

One very interesting thing about weekend ridership is that the Gold and Expo Line extensions have arguably been even more successful on weekends than on weekdays. The Gold Line has seen Saturday and Sunday ridership jump by about 6,000 riders, or 20% on Saturday and 24% on Sunday. This is a greater ridership gain than weekdays not only in percentage, but in absolute terms, surely an unusual outcome. The Expo Line data is even more remarkable, with ridership increasing by about 13,000 riders (60%) on Saturday and 16,000 riders (100%) on Sunday.

Lastly, here’s the update for the boardings per mile, again both raw monthly graph and rolling 12-month average. Raw weekday boardings per mile:

wkdy-bpm-201608

Rolling 12-month average weekday boardings per mile:

wkdy-bpm-12mo-201608

The Gold and Expo Lines both saw a decrease in productivity, not unusual for lines where extensions just opened. As ridership grows on the extensions, these trend lines will climb back up. The Blue and Red/Purple Lines have ticked back up a little bit, perhaps reminding us that extending the transit network increases ridership on existing lines too.

Gold Line and Expo Line Thoughts

While there’s been both excitement and concern about the Gold and Expo Line extensions, it’s important to remember that it’s very early in the game for these lines. Four months after the opening of Expo Phase 1, ridership was at about 20,000, and continued to rise to over 30,000 by two years after opening. Gold Line ridership was at about 32,000 six months after the Eastside Extension opened, and had risen to over 45,000 by the time the Azusa extension opened. We’re still very much in the adjustment period.

Still, the initial weekday ridership increase for the Gold Line extension of 4,000 is less than I’d hoped for. Traffic on the 210 is very bad during peak periods, and downtown Pasadena is a large enough business district to generate trips in its own right, so demand shouldn’t have to all be people making a long trip to downtown LA. It is especially surprising that the weekday ridership gain was smaller than the weekend ridership gain. Considering the length of the extension (11 miles and 6 stations) and the nature of development in the area, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to hope for around 12,000 riders in the future – about 1,000 boardings per mile or 2,000 per station.

The Expo Line extension opened to even more fanfare, fulfilling the dream of restoring rail transit service between downtown LA and the beach. This created a lot of excursion trips in the first month or so after opening, with people riding just to see the line. The initial ridership increase of 13,000 was respectable and we should expect it to continue growing. The Saturday and Sunday ridership increases were more impressive and are indicative of the strength and variety of travel demand along the corridor. Saturday and Sunday ridership is now at about 75%-80% of weekday ridership. Considering the Expo Line has been running 12 minute headways during the day and 20 minute headways late, there should be considerable gains to be had just by getting enough vehicles to run 6 minute peak headways. In addition, restoring 10 minute headways during evenings and nights would also be helpful.

Next up will be central LA and Westside bus ridership. It won’t be as interesting as rail ridership, but perhaps we’ll see some impact from the Expo Line extension.

LACMTA Valley Bus Ridership Update – January 2016 Edition

Here’s our third update on ridership on some of the main bus routes in the San Fernando Valley. As a reminder, for north-south corridors, we have San Fernando, Van Nuys, Sepulveda, and Reseda; for east-west, Ventura, Sherman, Roscoe, and Nordhoff.

For more detail on the sausage-making involved in converting routes that cover multiple corridors to a number for a single arterial road, see the first post.

Here’s the raw data. As always, highlighted cells represent top 10 ridership months since January 2009. All routes put up their best months in the 2009-2010 period; this may be due to the recession reducing car ownership.

valley-raw-201601

Here are the 12-month rolling averages for weekdays.

valley-Wk-201601

Saturday and Sunday 12-month rolling averages largely reflect weekday trends, as shown below. The only interesting countertrend is an uptick in Reseda over weekends.

valley-Sa-201601

valley-Su-201601

The configuration of rapid routes on Van Nuys was changed in late 2014. Route 761, a rapid that went from Van Nuys in the Valley through Sepulveda Pass to UCLA in Westwood, was eliminated. At the same time, Route 734, the Sepulveda rapid, was extended from its previous terminus in Sherman Oaks through Sepulveda Pass to Westwood. Rapid service on Van Nuys was replaced with Route 744, a U-shaped route on Van Nuys, Ventura, and Reseda. An express rapid service, Route 788, serving the northern part of Van Nuys and connecting to the Orange Line, then running express on the 405 to Westwood, was also created.

LACMTAmap-2012

LACMTA Valley bus service, 2012

LACMTAmap-2016

LACMTA Valley bus service, 2016

In our last post, we speculated that the change may have had a negative impact on ridership on the Van Nuys corridor. A closer look shows that this is probably not the case for weekday ridership. Here is the breakdown of ridership on Van Nuys and Sepulveda by local and rapid on each corridor, and total local and total rapid on the two corridors combined.

valley-VNS-201601

valley-VNSzoom-201601

Note that we are using monthly data here, not the rolling 12-month averages, because we want to see the impact of a change to bus service at a discreet point in time, and the rolling averages will obscure that effect.

The reconfiguration of rapid routes at the end of 2014 resulted in a sudden one-time adjustment in the distribution of rapid ridership. We can’t know which riders switched to which routes for sure, but it appears that 761 riders that had been boarding on the Sepulveda portion of the route quickly switched to 734, with total rapid ridership on Sepulveda remaining relatively constant. Riders that had been boarding 761 on Van Nuys seem to have quickly switched to 788, with total rapid ridership on Van Nuys also relatively constant. The large drop in ridership has mostly come from local routes. This is consistent with what we saw on the Westside bus routes.

In stark contrast, the large drop in ridership on the Van Nuys corridor appears to be directly related to the reconfiguration of rapid routes.

valley-VNS-Sa-201601

While Route 761 ran on weekends, Route 734 never has, and this was not changed when 761 was eliminated. Route 744 runs on weekends, but Route 788 does not; thus on weekends there is now no rapid service from the Valley to the Westside.

Again, we are speculating, but it appears that with the elimination of 761, riders who couldn’t cancel their trips and had no other option to get from the Valley to the Westside shifted to the Sepulveda local route, 234, producing a sudden jump in ridership. However, 744 appears to be less useful to riders than 761 was, because the increase in local ridership was less than the drop in rapid ridership that occurred with the cancelation of 761. The net result is that while total local ridership on Van Nuys and Sepulveda on Saturdays has remained relatively constant, total rapid ridership was reduced by over 50% almost instantly.

This strongly suggests that weekend rapid service between the Valley and the Westside was useful to many riders, and Metro should consider restoring it.

LACMTA Bus Ridership Update – January 2016 Edition

Six months have passed, so it’s time for another LACMTA bus ridership update. As always, we start with the raw data. Highlighted cells represent the top 10 months for that route (since January 2009).

bus-raw-201601

Here are the weekday, Saturday, and Sunday 12-month rolling averages.

bus-wkdy-12mo-201601bus-Sat-12m-201601bus-Sun-12m-201601

There’s not much new to say, so we’ll keep it short. Most lines continue to decrease. The Silver Line continues to grow slowly. Rolling 12-month average weekday ridership has declined by over 8% on the Orange Line and 10%-15% on the other lines, except the Silver Line which has set new record highs. A glance at the raw data above reveals that these numbers are about to get a lot worse unless something changes soon.

Here’s the percentage of trips on each arterial being served by the rapid route.

bus-share-201601

The share of riders served by the rapid routes continues to slowly rise on most corridors. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasing ridership on the rapid – it could be that both the rapid and local declined, but the rapid was more resilient. For example, here’s the split for Wilshire, where the Westside local (Route 20) has been fairly steady, the Rapid (Route 720) has seen a modest drop, and the heaviest drop has been on the east side local (Route 18).

bus-split-Wilshire-201601

That’s it for now; next up, Valley bus ridership.

LACMTA Rail Ridership Update – January 2016

Six months have passed, so it’s time for another LACMTA rail ridership update. As a reminder, bus ridership for the Westside and San Fernando Valley has been broken out into separate posts.

First, the raw data. Highlighted cells represent the top 10 months for that line (since January 2009).

rawdata-201601

Recent trends have continued, with the Blue, Green, and Red/Purple Lines continuing to decline. On the bright side, the Gold Line is at all-time highs for ridership on weekdays and weekends, setting records at the end of 2015. The Expo Line also had two top-10 months since July; assuming this holds the 12-month rolling average will start to rise soon. The Gold Line will probably be impacted in February by construction-related shutdown, but all of these data points will soon be irrelevant as both lines will have extensions come on line.

Here’s the rolling 12-month average of weekday ridership:

wkdy-12mo-201601

As noted previously, some of the drop in the Blue and Red/Purple Lines may be due to ongoing construction that has increased late-night headways and shut down portions of the Blue Line at times.

Saturday and Sunday trends largely reflect the weekdays.

Here’s the Saturday and Sunday rolling 12-month averages.

Sa-12mo-201601Su-12mo-201601

And lastly, here’s the update for the rolling 12-month average of boardings per mile:

wkdy-bprm-201601

The Expo Line has very nearly passed the Blue Line for boardings per mile, but not for the reasons we’d hope! It seems likely that the Expo Line will race past the Blue Line once Expo 2 opens to be the most productive light rail line.

Our next update will be in July 2016, so hold on to your hats for two LRT extensions!

LACMTA Bus Ridership Update: July 2015

Another three months has passed, so it’s time for another LACMTA bus ridership update. As always, we start with the raw data. Highlighted cells represent the top 10 months for that route (since January 2009).

bus-raw-201507

Here are the weekday, Saturday, and Sunday 12-month rolling averages.

bus-wkdy-12mo-201507 bus-Sat-12mo-201507 bus-Sun-12mo-201507

There’s not much new to say, so we’ll keep it short. Lines that have seen slight decreases continue to decrease; those that are steady seemed to keep holding. The Silver Line continues to grow slowly.

Here’s the percentage of trips on each arterial being served by the rapid route.

bus-share-201507

The share of riders served by the rapid routes continues to slowly rise on most corridors. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasing ridership on the rapid – it could be that both the rapid and local declined, but the rapid was more resilient. For example, here’s the split for Wilshire, where the Westside local (Route 20) has been fairly steady, the Rapid (Route 720) has seen a modest drop, and the heaviest drop has been on the east side local (Route 18).

bus-split-Wilshire-201507

That’s it for now; next up, Valley bus ridership, and then Metrolink. I’m going to keep these ridership posts short and go to a 6-month update cycle, in order to allow more time for more interesting posts.

LACMTA Rail Ridership Update – July 2015 Edition

Another three months has passed, so it’s time for another LACMTA rail ridership update. As a reminder, bus ridership for the Westside and San Fernando Valley has been broken out into separate posts.

First, the raw data. Highlighted cells represent the top 10 months for that line (since January 2009).

rawdata-201507

Recent trends have continued, with the Blue and Red/Purple Lines continuing to slip a little, while the Green Line stabilized. The Gold Line and Expo Lines continue to be near, though not at, all-time highs, with the Gold Line just missing a top 10 month in July. Expo Line ridership picked up from April and May, but is still running a little below last year, so the rolling 12-month averages dropped a little..

Here’s the rolling 12-month average of weekday ridership:

wkdy-12mo-201507

As noted previously, some of the drop in the Blue and Red/Purple Lines may be due to ongoing construction that has increased late-night headways and shut down portions of the Blue Line at times.

Saturday and Sunday ridership on the Blue Line continued to slide, possibly due to construction. The Green Line declined but not as significantly. Interestingly, Red Line ridership dropped on Saturday, but had three straight top 10 months on Sunday. The Gold and Expo Lines also had three straight top 10 Sunday months, and had strong Saturday ridership as well.

Here’s the Saturday and Sunday rolling 12-month averages.

Sat-12mo-201507 Sun-12mo-201507

And lastly, here’s the update for the rolling 12-month average of boardings per mile:

wkdy-bprm-201507

Again, Expo Line ridership is leveling off. The Expo Line is closing in on the Blue Line for boardings per mile, but not for the reasons we’d hope!

LACMTA Bus Ridership Update – San Fernando Valley May 2015

Here’s our second update on ridership on some of the main bus routes in the San Fernando Valley. As a reminder, for north-south corridors, we have San Fernando, Van Nuys, Sepulveda, and Reseda; for east-west, Ventura, Sherman, Roscoe, and Nordhoff.

For more detail on the sausage-making involved in converting routes that cover multiple corridors to a number for a single arterial road, see the first post.

Here’s the raw data. As always, highlighted cells represent top 10 ridership months since January 2009. All routes put up their best months in the 2009-2010 period; this may be due to the recession reducing car ownership.

valley-raw-201505

Here are the 12-month rolling averages for weekdays.

valley-Wk-201505

Saturday and Sunday 12-month rolling averages largely reflect weekday trends, as shown below. The only interesting countertrend is an uptick in Reseda over weekends.

valley-Sa-201505

valley-Su-201505

The only structural change that would be affecting ridership in the Valley is the adjustment of the rapid routes serving Reseda, Ventura, Van Nuys, and Sepulveda in late 2014. Prior to the change, the Van Nuys rapid route extended through Sepulveda Pass to Westwood, and the Sepulveda and Reseda rapid routes ended in Sherman Oaks. This was changed to the Sepulveda rapid route extending through the pass, with the Reseda and shortened Van Nuys rapid routes linked up into a single U-shaped route on Reseda, Ventura, and Van Nuys.

From the point of abstract geometry, it might appear to make more sense for the Sepulveda route to extend through the pass, but Van Nuys is by far the best bus corridor in the Valley. It is impossible to say if the recent sharp decline on Van Nuys is due to the network reconfiguration, but the change does not appear to have helped. Note that it is possible that the decline on Van Nuys has been over-exaggerated by the method of apportioning route ridership to corridors, but no other corridor has seen an anomalous gain in ridership, so some corridor is losing riders even if it’s not Van Nuys.

Stay tuned for Metrolink.

LACMTA Westside Bus Ridership Update – April 2015

Another three months has passed, so it’s time for another LACMTA bus ridership update.

First, the raw data. Highlighted cells represent the top 10 months for that route (since January 2009).

bus-raw-201504

Here are the 12-month rolling averages.

bus-wkdy-12mo-201504

Here’s the Saturday and Sunday rolling 12-month averages.

bus-Sat-12mo-201504 bus-Sun-12mo-201504

Saturday and Sunday ridership largely reflects the weekday trends.

Unfortunately, most lines have continued to see slight decreases in ridership. The exception is the Silver Line, where ridership continues to grow. There’s also been a leveling off of ridership on Vermont and Western, so maybe things will start to turn around.

Lastly, here’s the percentage of trips on each arterial being served by the rapid route.

bus-share-201504

The share of riders served by the rapid routes continues to slowly rise on most corridors. Again, I wouldn’t read too much into the spikes in Venice and Santa Monica data, because they were caused by large drops in local route ridership on those streets. However, it is interesting that the rapid routes were more resilient to ridership changes – the ridership losses came disproportionately from local routes.

As always, it’s hard to say what’s causing ridership changes. Possibilities include the improving economy making cars more affordable, cheaper gas, and Metro’s recent fare increase.

Next up, Valley bus ridership, and then Metrolink.