Posts about Ridership
According to WMATA's latest performance review, overall Metrorail ridership is dropping, and weekend ridership is plummeting.
Overall there were 4.2% fewer Metrorail riders in FY13 compared to FY12, and weekend ridership in June 2013 was fully 12% lower than weekends in June 2012.
Although Metro's report claims the drop is due to Hurricane Sandy and the federal government's unanticipated extra Christmas Eve holiday, the obvious explanation is terrible weekend service. Neither the hurricane nor a one-day holiday in December had any effect on that June 2013 number, after all.
Obviously Metro needs to perform a lot of maintenance on weekends. That's necessary and appropriate. But WMATA could do (and used to do) more to make the system usable on weekends.
It's not necessary to run 24-minute headways on an entire line in order to single track one short segment. For example, if Metro needs to single track between Foggy Bottom and Smithsonian, they should still be able to run regular service between Vienna and Foggy Bottom.
The location of track crossovers does limit where Metro can turn trains around, but crossovers are never more than 2 or 3 stations apart, so it is always possible to turn trains around somewhere.
WMATA's heavy maintenance schedule hurts, but it's a temporary problem. In a few years, presumably, maintenance work will catch up and weekend shutdowns and single tracking won't be as common. On the other hand, WMATA's denial to admit terrible service turns riders away is a potentially bigger problem. And if they're not putting out the best service possible, that's a huge problem.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
Rail use in America continues to climb ever higher. In July, Amtrak posted its busiest ridership month ever. But what are the busiest individual routes?
Let's take a look. Here are the 10 highest ridership Amtrak routes, as of July, 2013:
Number 1: Northeast Regional
July 2013ridership: 687,331
Number 2: Acela Express
July 2013 ridership: 276,477
Number 3: Pacific Surfliner (Southern California)
July 2013 ridership: 271,517
Number 4: Capitol Corridor (Northern California)
July 2013 ridership: 140,533
Number 5: Keystone Service (NY to Harrisburg, PA)
July 2013 ridership: 123,874
Number 6: San Joaquin (Central California)
July 2013 ridership: 117,348
Number 7: Empire Service (Upstate New York)
July 2013 ridership: 99,801
Number 8: Cascades (Pacific Northwest)
July 2013 ridership: 85,565
Number 9: Hiawatha (Chicago to Milwaukee)
July 2013 ridership: 79,423
Number 10: Lincoln Service (Chicago to Saint Louis)
July 2013 ridership: 66,461
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed ridership data as being for the full fiscal 2013 year. Data is for July 2013 only.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
WMATA planners have created a new ridership data visualization, a video that shows the volume at each station across the day:
This has a lot in common with Kenton Ngo's animated GIF that works basically the same way, but with less fine-grained time resolution:
WMATA planners created this before they saw Ngo's, planner Michael Eichler noted in an email. In each one, the circles are larger at times when more people are entering or exiting the station. The color shifts based on whether the traffic is people entering (pink), exiting (blue), or a mix (shades of purple in between).
The WMATA animation uses April 10, 2013, which was Metro's 4th highest ridership day ever. The PlanItMetro post says:
A combination of cherry blossom peak bloom and two sporting events ratcheted ridership up to 871,000 for the day, compared to an average weekday ridership of around 750,000. Note the high level of activity at the Smithsonian station all day long, and big dots that grow and shrink as the sports games begin and then end near Gallery Place and Navy Yard-Ballpark stations.You can access the data yourself to create your own visualizations here. If you make some, let us know at email@example.com and we'll post some of the best.
Kenton Ngo made an animation showing how many people are entering or exiting Metro stations at each hour across the day.
Green circles show where people enter, and red where they exit. As you'd expect, green circles swell and then shrink at end-of-line and other busy suburban stations in the morning, while even larger red circles appear at the stations at major job centers. In the evening, the pattern reverses.
This is another way of visualizing the Metro station data which WMATA released last year. Matt Johnson used it to compute the busiest stations and the balance between stations. In 2009, Matt diagrammed the flows in each direction.
If you go to the large and interactive version on PlanItMetro, you can mouse over individual squares to see the date as a tooltip.
The darkest red days have the lowest ridership, the darkest green the highest. You can see high ridership events like President Obama's January
2005 2009 inauguration, the Stewart/Colbert rally in October 2010, Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse in February 2010, and more.
Stepping back, it's clear how ridership is highest in April, June, and July, and the number of very high ridership days jumped significantly in 2008 but then has stayed flat or a bit down since. Weekend ridership has gotten lower in recent years, probably because of all the trackwork.
What do you notice?
It's common knowledge that the Northeast Corridor is Amtrak's best line, but the northeast is not the only place in the US where a lot of people ride intercity trains. This map by Michael Hicks shows that California, the area around Chicago, and the Pacific Northwest also stand out.
In the map, each circle represents one Amtrak station. The larger the circle, the more riders there are at that station.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
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