Since there’s a sizable contingent of readers interested in fighting over the Waterfront Streetcar, STB alum Brian Bundridge sends along information on how the waterfront streetcar turned into bus route 99, which I should caution isn’t quite directly comparable:
Waterfront Streetcar. From Metro’s reporting to the National Transit Database. 2005 expenses probably include line shutdown costs.
Route 99 Bus. Estimated from route performance data, extrapolated from Fall service data.
|Platform Hours||11,815||data unavailable||10,818||10,808||10,583|
|Operating Expense||$1,060,160||data unavailable||$1,063,544||$1,080,704||$1,070,523|
Hello rail bias! Comparisons are somewhat imprecise, but the streetcar had a lower cost per rider ($3.60 vs. $4.47, excepting 2005), even before considering that it generated fare revenue (which the free bus did not). Bringing it back, of course, would require capital expenditure as well.
Thanks to Metro Data Analyst Katie Chalmers, who gathered the data for Brian. A larger excerpt of her comments are below the jump.
The data are not calculated in the same way for the streetcar and Route 99, so you should use some caution if trying to compare between the two. The comparison is probably reasonable, but in the case of the Route 99 you will see from my explanation below that the operating cost in the spreadsheet is just an estimate and not an actual cost.
The Waterfront Streetcar data is straightforward. It comes from Metro’s reporting by mode to the National Transit Database. Since the Waterfront Streetcar was the only service that Metro reported under the mode “Light Rail” (LR) during the years it was operating, it is easy to get historic data. In 2005 the streetcar did not operate the full year and the operating cost data is significantly higher than previous years. It’s possible that some of the costs of closure of the line are included there, so if I were you I’d just use 2002-2004 as the final three “full” years of operation. If you are interested in data prior to 2002, you can search the NTD reports online at:http://220.127.116.11/
Unfortunately with Route 99 it is a bit more complicated. Metro does not track operating cost at the route level. Instead, route 99 would be accounted for along with all other service that Metro reports as “Motorbus” (MB). What I have provided for Route 99 are estimates of operating cost and ridership that were used in preparing Route Performance Reports from 2006 through 2010. The Route Performance data is based on Fall service change information, so annual ridership and costs I have provided for Route 99 reflect the figures if Fall schedules and ridership levels were consistent for a year.