When the Green Line was under construction I pondered, “The Blue Line is very popular, it not only has a high daily ridership, but people WANT to ride the train! A family of four is not uncommon to see on the train to a Twins game. Buying four tickets at a park and ride and riding the rails in, for that many people they’d pay LESS to drive in and park in the $5 lot 2 blocks away. I wonder what will happen when the Green Line opens. Without park and rides, will it be as popular?”
A recent Sunday, my parents had extra tickets to a game, and I decided to check it out. From my pictures, experience on the Blue Line, and my ride on the Green Line the answer seemed to be very clear, no. The Green Line didn’t have many extra seats, but it was easy for riders down the line to board, unlike some of the crush loads seen on the Blue Line.
I think this highlights an overlooked argument for limited park and ride facilities; a few park and rides can be a very good investment for a transit system because they allow people to try the service, and let people who wouldn’t normally use the service work it into their lives for a trial period, or for special events. These people may not normally support transit, but because they can ride it occasionally, they are more likely to support investments in the system, they can see the benefit and experience the service, even if it usually would not be a possibility for them.