As I’ve said consistently through both ups and downs, monthly ridership numbers suffer from significant sample size issues, seasonal variations, shifts in supporting bus service, and so on, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Nonetheless, weekday ridership dropped about 10% from 16,192 to 14,399, bringing it to about the same plateau as August and September and October. Weekend ridership dropped even more (9,838 for Saturday and 7,836 for Sundays and Thanksgiving), possibly hurt by a lack of special events. These numbers put Link slightly above Metro’s highest ridership route, the 48. I’m told by various sources that October is typically a peak ridership month for buses and Sounder, so the month-to-month drop isn’t surprising.
However, given widespread vacation time in December, it would be surprising if Link were to come near its year-end target 0f 21,000 weekday riders. The end-of-2010 target is 26,000, at which point data would reflect a full year of the completed line running to Seatac with all planned Metro changes in place (except for RapidRide A) for almost 11 months. The last word on Central Link’s success or failure will not come for decades, but that will be the first really informative data point.