Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Light Rail Ridership Increases in Baltimore

(phoro by me)

The Streetsblog Network has an article recapping the recent release of the 2009 Fourth Quarter Ridership Report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). According to the APTA, total public transit ridership hit 10.2 billion for 2009. Light rail transit increased in nine cities, including Baltimore (take that neysayers).

Daily ridership for the Baltimore Light Rail in 2009 averaged 34,700 weekday riders. Total riders on the Light Rail increased from 8,054,100 in 2008 to 8,981,200 in 2009, or an 11.51% increase. The total percentage increase for Baltimore was greatest of the nine cities. Even with this steady increase, the total ridership on the Baltimore system is still lower than it's original projected ridership, and can hold more capacity.

Better connectivity to the Metro Subway at Lexington Market, and a Northbound connection at Penn Station would be two vast improvements to the system that would encourage ridership and transfer. How these were overseen at original construction is beyond me. Increased traffic preemption at instersections along Howard Street (although claimed to have been done, but I don't 100% buyt it. Seriously sit at the intersections at Conway and Camden Streets and count how long the trains sit at the red lights) would decrease travel time.

There is a bright future though, the Westport Development will add ridership and a new destination along the Light Rail, and the Red Line will add another piece to the Baltimore Transit network. These are good things to think about in the next 2-6 years.

Other Baltimore area transit changes are as follows:
Metro Subway - avg. daily riders: 51,800. Annual Riders YTD Change: -6.8%
MARC - avg. daily riders: 30,300. Annual Riders YTD Change: + 0.07%
Bus - avg. daily riders: 292,300. Annual Riders YTD Change: -0.72%

1 comment:

  1. Well, it should be obvious from these numbers that building a train line with dedicated right-of-way is worth the extra up front cost. 51,800 for metro vs. 34,700 for light rail, and the light rail line is more than twice as long. I'm continually disgusted that the LPA for the red line was even considered in the first place given these statistics. If only there were a nearby example of what a comprehensive metro subway system could do for a distressed city - a city close enough that Maryland leaders could take a day trip there. It would be even more convenient if the federal government also had easy access to such a system, so they could see that it's worth funding. If only...

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