With the City getting ready to study the costs and benefits of integrating the Seattle Center Monorail into the ORCA fare and pass system used by eight local transit agencies, a look at some ORCA use and revenue data is in order.
The 3rd Quarter ORCA Joint Board Program Management Report breaks down revenue and boardings by pass type, for the months of July through September. For purposes of math, I simply took the summations for the three months.
|Product Type||Revenue||Boardings||Revenue Per Boarding|
The monorail has annual ridership a little over 2,000,000 and revenue a little over $4,000,000, coming out to $2 revenue per ride.
What would happen if the monorail started accepting ORCA, inter-agency transfers, and passes?
If every monorail rider were to start using ORCA (just for the sake of worst-case argument), the monorail got the typical distribution of $1.85 per ORCA tap, and zero new monorail riders came forth, the monorail would lose $300,000 of its annual profit. If just 163,000 new annual boardings end up being added, the monorail would break even on ORCAzation. If ridership doubled, the monorail’s profit would increase by $3,400,000.
Let’s assume something even worse: Every monorail rider becomes an ORCA regional pass user, and the monorail only gets $1.53 distributed to it for each ORCA tap. If zero new riders came forth, the monorail’s profit would go down by $940,000 annually. The break-even point would be 615,000 new riders. If ridership doubled, the monorail would pull in $2,120,000 of new annual revenue.
It is hard to envision a scenario coming to pass in which the monorail doesn’t make a windfall off of ORCAzation.