Metro seems to be experiencing a massive increase in ridership over the past year. The press release says “(o)verall, Metro’s 2007 ridership is running almost 7 percent higher than 2006”, I got about 6.8%, not bad at all. Here’s my chart:

Metro sites high gas prices, Transit Now funded increased transit service, and increased employment.

We know population growth has been about 1.4%. I looked for employment numbers, but couldn’t find one that was accurate enough on a year-over-year level for the region. Gas prices seem to have gone up by about 10~12%, though that is not an inflation adjusted amount, and when you look at inflation of about 4%, we’d get to about 6~8% price increase.

My guess is, part of it is population increase – probably about the 1.4%. Part of it is oil price increase, not the whole 6% because oil price changes are very inelastic because people purchase cars and choose houses on long schedules: people can’t just sell there cars and move quickly to adjust for oil price changes. Part of it is people tired of traffic, and the last part is people becoming more acceptant of transit lifestyles. Some people are accepting the global warming situation and moving to live a greener lifestyle. Also, the younger generation now joining the workforce as fresh grads or recent immigrations have a different attitude toward transit, urban living and a more flexible idea of what an ideal lifestyle is.

But that’s a long post for another day.

5 Replies to “Metro’s ridership growth quadrupling population growth”

  1. A bunch of city routes are really near capacity – that’s something light rail will really help with, moving people from downtown and capitol hill to UW, to Beacon Hill, and to the airport. I ride an early morning bus to the airport fairly often (the 3:30 in the morning run – generally completely packed), and I’ll probably just take the first light rail train in the morning instead.

  2. Hey guys! I am back again. All of my routes in city have been overloaded, so I completely see that this is the case, hopefully light rail will relieve some of that.

  3. If they’re near capacity and the 20/40/40 rule is in effect, I doubt we’ll get much relief. I bet Link drives up a lot of bus traffic.

Comments are closed.