Comment 89135

By tre (registered) | Posted May 29, 2013 at 11:56:27

The pro-LRT side has misguided people, on several occasions, with incorrect or partial facts. Take the Charlotte LRT example which the pro-LRT side consistently refers to.

Hamilton Light Rail states:

"Myth: LRT won't attract new ridership.

Fact: LRT systems consistently outperform even optimistic ridership growth projections. Charlotte's Lynx line, which opened in 2007, was supposed to start at 9,100 daily passengers and reach 18,000 daily riders by 2025; but by Q1 2008 it already reached 18,600 daily passengers and has since increased to 21,000 as of 2010. A 2009 survey found that nearly three quarters of Lynx passengers were new to public transit."

A quick fact check on Wikipedia (if you don't trust Wikipedia as a source, follow the references it provided):

"Prior to the opening of the line in November 2007, CATS projected ridership for the completed Blue Line to be 9,100 on an average weekday in its first year of operation, gradually increasing to 18,100 by 2025. In its first few months of operation, the Blue Line saw an average daily weekday ridership of 8,700 passengers. By the end of the first quarter of 2008, weekday ridership had increased to 18,600, double first-year projections and ahead of the 2025 projections. In March 2008, the single light rail line accounted for 19.5% of total system ridership – 402,600 of the 2,061,700 monthly passenger-trips of all lines including bus, dial-a-ride, and vanpool. Daily ridership continued to climb through the fall of 2008 due to increasing gasoline prices, peaking at 22,300 in the third quarter.

By summer 2009, a CATS survey indicated that 72 percent of Lynx riders did not use public transportation prior to its completion. On December 11, 2009, Lynx celebrated its 10 millionth passenger trip since its opening in November 2007. For 2009, Lynx saw a decrease in daily ridership from 19,700 to 19,500 passengers per day. As of the fourth quarter of 2012, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has Lynx daily ridership at 14,800, making Lynx the 21st largest light rail system in the United States in terms of ridership."

Conclusion: While the LRT had a positive effect, the increase in ridership is also largely due to the spike in gas prices around 2008. If you research a bit further, you will notice that pretty much every transit agency had a boost in ridership during those years, regardless of whether they had LRT or not.

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