With fares going up Sunday, will this be the last report for awhile on record T ridership?

The MBTA reports ridership in May increased 2.9% over the previous year, the 16th straight month ridership has gone up.

Green Line usage increased 9.1%, the T says.

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Office spreadsheet icon Latest ridership stats (.xls file)0 bytes
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Comments

Green Line up 9.1%(?)(!)

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At first I was going to say that there must be some kind of flaw in this data, as there is no way that 9.1% more people could possibly be riding the already way overstuffed Green Line, but on reflection, I think that this might be evidence of commute time-shifting (or, perhaps, that the Red Sox had many more home games in May of this year (I have no idea) and that wasn't controlled for).

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Collection vs. riders?

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Is it possible that the T is just collecting more fares?

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That didn't start until June anyway

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Actually, on that topic, I think the T's numbers are based on automated farebox counts, and those don't include the many people who get waved onboard by showing their monthly or weekly pass.

Since CharlieTickets take forever to process, many times the operator will manually inspect the tickets in order to speed up boarding. But that probably means ridership numbers are deflated somewhat. Unless they are trying to account for that effect somehow.

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Any predictions?

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Not sure how ridership was affected by past fare increases, but my gut feeling is that fare increases will have a limited impact. If I need to take the T, I need to take the T, whether it costs $1.25, $1.70 or $2.50. There aren't many substitutes or alternatives.

Anyone have any data from previous fare hikes?

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CTPS did an analysis

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http://mbta.com/uploadedfiles/About_the_T/Fare_Pro...

They based it on the effects of the 2007 fare increase. The estimated range is -3.4% to -7.8% effect on annual ridership.

Other research has suggested that a relative cost change between private and public transportation does not have large effects on transit ridership, but an increase in the absolute cost of private transportation does have a significant correlation with increase of ridership. That seems to imply that changes in public transportation fares are not expected to have a large effect. On the other hand, size of rapid transit (urban rail) network was found to be significantly and inversely correlated with car ownership and usage.

Now this research was conducted with East Asian cities but it does seem to agree with the general sentiment of people here that fare increases were tolerable, but service cuts were not.

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Commuter rail passengers, maybe

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My guess is that the worst of it is going to be on the MBCR. If you're outside Zone 1, the fare hikes are a tough pill to swallow. I work in an office park in Zone 2, and at least 2 guys I work with are planning to switch back to driving, since the extra $40/month pushes their costs back above what gasoline would be.

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