Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ridership on SoCal Public Transportation Continues to Decline, Despite Billions of Dollars Invested

And that's with gas prices still near three bucks a gallon. Elsewhere around the country folks are filling up for low prices not seen since the 1970s. We'd have even further declining ridership if taxes and regulations weren't so onerous in the once-Golden State

At the Los Angeles Times, "Despite billions invested, ridership on Southern California public transit continues to decline":
For almost a decade, transit ridership has declined across Southern California despite enormous and costly efforts by top transportation officials to entice people out of their cars and onto buses and trains.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the region's largest carrier, lost more than 10% of its boardings from 2006 to 2015, a decline that appears to be accelerating. Despite a $9-billion investment in new light rail and subway lines, Metro now has fewer boardings than it did three decades ago, when buses were the county's only transit option.

Most other agencies fare no better. In Orange County, bus ridership plummeted 30% in the last seven years, while some smaller bus operators across the region have experienced declines approaching 25%. In the last two years alone, a Metro study found that 16 transit providers in Los Angeles County saw average quarterly declines of 4% to 5%.

Years after the end of the worst recession since World War II, which prompted deep service cuts, transit agencies are still trying to figure out where their riders have gone and what can be done to bring them back, including major changes to routes and schedules.

Officials say ridership is cyclical and customers will return as traffic congestion worsens, bus service improves, new rail lines open and more of the region's population moves to walkable neighborhoods near transit stops.

But some experts say the downturn could represent a permanent shift in how people get around, propelled by a changing job market, falling gas prices, fare increases, declining immigration and the growing popularity of other transportation options, including bicycling and ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.

"I don't know if this is long-term, but it doesn't feel like it's temporary when we've been dealing with 36 straight months of declining ridership," said Darrell Johnson, chief executive of the Orange County Transportation Authority...
We're governed by idiots. How much money is being wasted on the "bullet train" right now, the train no one wants and of which few will ride? The state's Democrats will have to outlaw single-family cars before any boondoggle like this gets anywhere near viable.

But keep reading, FWIW.