MBTA says ridership broke record in October

The T says its trains, buses and ferries carried 37.3 million passengers last month, the first time the system has ever carried more than 37 million people in a single month.

The Green Line and buses did show small drops in ridership, however.

On a typical weekday in October of this year, an average of 1.377 million passenger trips were made throughout the MBTA system. For Fiscal Year 2015, which began the same day the fare increase took effect, MBTA ridership is outpacing Fiscal Year 2014 at a growth rate of 1.2%.

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Office spreadsheet icon Latest MBTA ridership numbers151.5 KB

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Maybe it's time to put a

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Maybe it's time to put a dollar or two into maintaining the trains, then. Maybe half of those millions wouldn't have been stranded so often.

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Gov't Center Still Closed

Impressive considering one of the key stations in the system has been closed.

Sad that while every new development boosts proximity to the T we're still at least 5 years out for new cars on two of the lines. Given the stupid requirement that final assembly be in MA it's likely it will be further delayed.

Neither of the candidates for governor mentioned anything specific to the T when running. Now that Baker has won I haven't heard him make any comments on changes or improvements he plans to make the system.

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Quick analysis

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They added a new category called "BRT" since July ... this is confusing. What routes count as BRT? Anyway, the numbers only make sense if you assume that the counts under "BRT" were formerly listed under "Bus". In that case, there's a year-over-year change of about -150,000 rides this month on the Bus/BRT mode. For light rail, it's -200,000 for the month of October. So the ridership growth and "record breaking month" was largely carried on the nearly +900,000 rides carried by the rapid transit lines.

What's even more remarkable is that it's not weekday ridership that's boosted the ridership by this astonishing amount. The weekday breakdown shows only about +6,000 per weekday. That's dwarfed by the Saturday breakdown: +25,000 and the Sunday breakdown: +41,000!

This year has seen a trend of increased weekend ridership so this is not out of character, although fairly strong.

I do have to say that I wonder about these estimates. Let's say there were 22 normal weekdays in October, 4 Sundays, 4 Saturdays, and Columbus Day treated as a Saturday. That nominally adds up to a bit over +400,000 rides. Where's the other half million?

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Late Night Service?

I wonder to what extent Saturday and Sunday changes can be explained by late night ridership. These numbers seem to correlate pretty well with estimates I've seen for that service.

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Saturday maybe, but there's

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Saturday maybe, but there's no extended service on Sunday.

Ok, to explain further: generally the service day is counted from the start of service. So, even though it might be 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning, the MBTA is still running on its "Saturday" schedule.

It's possible that for whatever reason, they are not following the normal categorization when it comes to these numbers. Wouldn't surprise me.

Still can't figure out where the half-million discrepancy is though.

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Saturday after midnight...

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..was on the . Probably counts as Sunday.

I took the time T late night last Saturday (early Sunday morning) for the first time since they started late night service. It was *packed*.

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BRT are Silver Lines SL1, SL2

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BRT are Silver Lines SL1, SL2, SL4, SL5, and the Silver Line South Station-Silver Line Way extra trips. The FTA is asking all transit authorities to treat BRT as a separate mode for their annual National Transit Database submissions, the data the MBTA collects and reports monthly is also used for their FTA NTD annual submission and thus has been changed to meet FTA's new requirements.

This year they ran a weekday schedule on Columbus Day while last year the ran a Saturday schedule on Columbus Day. So they are combining up 23 weekday averages this year vs 22 weekday averages last year.

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For The Curious...

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BRT refers to the Silver Lines; viz: SL1/741, SL2/742, SL4/751, SL5/749, and the Waterfront Shuttle/Route 746. The MBTA Blue Book has traditionally listed them in a separate section of the bus ridership table.

ITDP, an international group that synthesizes and studies BRT standards and best practices, essentially concluded that the Silver Line (namely, along Washington) has some BRT elements but isn't bona fide BRT. They had a think tank looking at trying to bring true-to-their-definitions BRT to Boston: https://www.itdp.org/?s=MBTA+Boston

Jesus, I've never typed "BRT" so many times in one sitting.

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Green line numbers down?

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I wonder if they take into consideration the 20-40% of morning commuters who never make it to the front of the train. From a rider's perspective, the Green line seems busier than ever!

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Government Center remains

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Government Center remains closed. Passengers traveling from the Blue Line to the Back Bay area or from Blue Line to Red Line are now taking the Orange Line or walking instead of taking a ride on the Green Line. Activity on the underground section of the Green Line is counted as part of the light rail mode.

April 2015 will be the first full month were the annual comparison will be between two time periods that include no activity at Government Center. I suspect at that point there will then be a percentage increase in the year to year light rail numbers and perhaps a slow down in heavy rail growth, since a portion of the heavy rail growth to date includes increases in Orange Line ridership from Green Line diversions.

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This idea keeps popping up

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But the decline in Green Line ridership has been measured for 3 years now. Government Center has only been closed for 8 months.

There's something else.

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But Government Center is an

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But Government Center is an obvious part of the loss. Do you believe people traveling from the Blue Line to the Back Bay area or from the Blue Line to the Red Line are traveling via the Orange Line to Haymarket to get the Green Line to make their trip? If not, then that represents a loss in Green Line ridership compared to last year.

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Bigger issues

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You're quite likely right that there is a loss of ridership due to Government Center closing, but I am far more concerned about the general downward trend that has been shown for the last 3 years. It's a much larger effect and it's unexplained.

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