Last week we wrote about technical problems delaying analysis of the First Hill Streetcar’s ridership. With the Automatic Passenger Counters (APCs) data transmission process broken, SDOT staff had noted that March ORCA data showed 50,000 boardings, or roughly 1,600 per day (though higher on weekdays and lower on weekends, of course).
Yesterday SDOT’s Norm Mah sent us updated APC data for the past 30 days, April 14-May 14, indicating that the data problem has been fixed.
The past 30 days have seen roughly 75,000 boardings, or 50% higher than the March ORCA-based count. The large difference is likely best explained by a combination of genuine growth, U-Link induced transfers, and a seemingly high rate of non-ORCA use (both via fare evasion and paper ticket purchasing).
A couple other things to note from the chart below. Sunday ridership is quite low, but it actually performs as well as Saturday ridership on a per-service-hour basis, as the streetcar operates a 20-hour (5am-1am) service span on Saturdays but only a 10-hour span on Sunday (10am-8pm). Second, the low May 1 ridership was due to suspension of service at 1pm due to May Day police activity. Finally, the recent free ridership promotions on Thursdays do seem to induce ridership, as the two highest ridership days in this data window were May 5 and May 12.