As most reasons to leave the house (much less travel to the big hubs) disappear, transit ridership is going down with it:
King County Metro has analyzed preliminary estimates and extrapolations to create an unofficial estimate of ridership. The results show an estimated 45% reduction in Metro bus ridership – or a drop of 185,000 riders, from an estimated 415,000 to 230,000 – on Thursday, March 12, compared to this time in 2019.Jeff Switzer, King County Metro
This is based on preliminary data, and therefore is not very precise. Nevertheless, the trend is unmistakable. For people interested in even smaller sample sizes, Jeff’s blog post shows the figures for some major routes. The 40, 70, and C are hit particular hard, while the A and 7 have drops below the mean.
I have a question out to Metro about how much this is costing them in terms of revenue. Given how little of fares are actually cash at the farebox, in the short term the hit should not be large. Much more significant is the presumable drop in sales tax collections. Should cuts become necessary, Jarrett Walker, as usual, has some good principles to use when cutting service in a pandemic.
Relatedly, the monorail shut down Monday night after a 95% fall in ridership.
Finally, kudos to Metro for suspending some of their usual data hygiene to get us this data almost immediately after the time in question. Their agility will allow necessary decisions to be made with the most transparency possible.