On Wednesday, Metro Transit provided ridership figures for the Green Line’s second week of operation, including a station-by-station breakdown. They didn’t give specific ridership numbers for each station, but they did give percentages of the total to two decimal places, which is more than enough for us to pretend that they did. The line had an average weekday ridership of 32,368 for June 23–27, besting projected 2015 ridership by nearly 18%. The first week, the line carried an average of 27,805 passengers daily, which was also above the 27,500 target for 2015.
Looking at individual stations, the line appears to be doing even better, particularly along the new segment of track through the University of Minnesota and into Saint Paul. The Blue Line, then the Hiawatha Line, bested its year 2020 projections in less than two years of operation. Will the Green Line do the same? Already, it looks like 11 or 12 of the 23 total stations and 10 of the 18 new stations are beating their year-2030 projections. I dug up data from the Central Corridor Supplementary Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the follow-up Final EIS, plus some data that had been on the old Metropolitan Council website during construction—apparently from modeling done for the the three “infill” stations at Hamline, Victoria, and Western. Unfortunately, I don’t have a single good set of data encompassing all stations (the latter set didn’t include numbers for downtown stations shared with the Blue Line), but maybe that can be obtained by the next time I try this exercise.
It turns out that those three infill stops are among the best performers so far if you go by percentages: Hamline is at 225% of it’s 2030 projection, Victoria is at 172%, and Western is the clear leader at 289%. They were expected to be right at the bottom for ridership counts, but performed significantly better in reality. Western and Victoria are still 4th and 3rd from the bottom of the list (ahead of Robert Street and Prospect Park), but Hamline is doing very well and was the 10th-busiest station on the line for the week.
The worst performers so far (if you can call it that—I’m still talking about projections for 16 years from now) are mostly clustered on the west end of the line, in downtown Minneapolis and from the University of Minnesota to Snelling Avenue. A number of the busiest stations aren’t reaching high ridership yet, though it’s summer when people are on vacation, walking and biking more, and not attending school. The University of Minnesota’s East Bank station has comparatively low ridership with this data, but that’s not surprising since the campus is out of session. However, the two other campus stops, West Bank and Stadium Village, are already above 2030 projections by narrow margins.
In downtown Saint Paul, the projections are basically inverted from reality. For some reason, the models projected that the 10th Street and Union Depot stations would see the highest ridership, even though that flies in the face of what a typical rider had experienced prior to the Green Line’s opening. But, the three stations taken together are at 100% to 108% of their 2030 projection.
These figures bode well for the future of the line. Taken together, the 18 new stations are at about 90% of their year-2030 goals, and the line as a whole is at about 77% of the 2030 target. The Final EIS estimate for total ridership in 2030 was 41,690, and I’ve seen a few projected figures floating around which touted a number a bit over 42,000. How soon do you think the Green Line will get there? How high do you think it will go?
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