Yesterday Metro Transit put out a press release that Central Corridor ridership has doubled since the Green Line started up. That’s a true statement, but there’s more to it, so here are some additional numbers.
Before Green Line construction started, Routes 16, 50, and 94 together were averaging 650,000 riders per month. During the construction period ridership declined each year, so by 2014 the three bus routes were hauling 573,000 per month, a 12% drop from before construction. All of that reduction occurred on Routes 16 and 50. That was no surprise, given the disruption to businesses along University and the bus detour away from the center of the campus via Dinkytown. During this period, the Route 94 express actually increased ridership by 6.7%.
Although there was a big ridership increase when the Green Line opened in June, the September numbers tell a more complete story. They include the U of M startup, which upped the August numbers by 11%, not unexpected. Also, by September, the novelty ridership by people who were simply curious had probably tailed off. The Green Line total was 1,063,500 in September (37,178 per average weekday), for a corridor total of 1,185,000. Only 10% of the corridor ridership is still on buses.
As of September, the corridor total had increased 107% over the first half of 2014, but only 82% over the pre-construction level of ridership.
It’s interesting to see what happened to bus ridership. Route 50, the limited stop service, is completely gone of course. Express Route 94 lost about half of its service, but retained 55% of its pre-Green Line ridership, a testimony to its faster speed between the downtowns.
The truncated Route 16, which still runs every 20 minutes from downtown St. Paul to TCF Bank Stadium, is only hauling 15% of its pre-construction total. That means that the Green Line is carrying 85% of the former Route 16 riders. There were those who felt that low income transit dependent riders might resist the switch to LRT. Clearly that hasn’t happened. The addition of the half-mile stations at Hamline, Victoria and Western undoubtedly had a positive impact on the shift from local bus to LRT.
A ridership footnote: Although I haven’t seen any numbers to document it, the Green Line ridership increase is even more impressive because I believe it is carrying fewer students between the East and West Bank U of M campuses than the buses did. The U runs a frequent campus shuttle, but in the last several years before the Green Line many students had shifted to Metro Transit buses to cross the river. This is because they can use their unlimited ride UPasses, so they began taking whichever bus–Metro Transit or campus shuttle–came first. That has changed for two reasons:
- Now that Routes 16 and 50 are gone, the campus shuttles run more frequently than the Green Line and the West Bank bus stops are closer to the campus buildings than the LRT station.
The shuttles stop at Coffman Union and at Oak & Washington, which the Green Line does not.
Distribution of Boardings
It’s interesting to see where people are boarding. According to data from the first half of September, here’s the breakdown:
9200 at the four downtown Minneapolis stations (Target Field to Downtown East)
9000 at the three University of Minnesota stations (West Bank to Stadium Village)
4400 from Prospect Park to Fairview Avenue
9500 from Snelling Avenue to Rice Street
5300 at the four downtown St. Paul stations (Robert Street to Union Depot)
To slice it another way, it was split almost evenly between the cities, 19,000 in Minneapolis and 18,400 in St. Paul.
Where’s the station by station data? Is there a link we can follow to access it? (Does anyone have the planned volumes at stations?)
It’s great to see the big ridership numbers. But I would also like to see the revenue numbers as well. How much in fares is it collecting? I’m very curious to see how it compares to the 16/50 and the Blue Line.
Nice story. Are there data on where passengers get off train? How basically are riders tallied?
The boarding riders are counted automatically by the fare machines. I don’t know if the trains has automatic passenger counters in the doorways. In the past the off counts were made through manual sampling. Here’s a station boarding count for early September:
1,124 Target Field Station & Platform
1,720 Warehouse Station & Platform
2,897 Nicollet Mall Station & Platform
1,327 Government Plaza Station & Platform
2,099 Downtown East Station & Platform
2,168 West Bank Station & Platform
5,105 East Bank Station & Platform
1,772 Stadium Village Station & Platform
782 Prospect Park Station & Platform
1,301 Westgate Station & Platform
1,195 Raymond Ave Station & Platform
1,119 Fairview Ave Station & Platform
2,346 Snelling Ave Station & Platform
1,507 Hamline Ave Station & Platform
1,503 Lexington Pkwy Station & Platform
737 Victoria St Station & Platform
1,460 Dale St Station & Platform
744 Western Ave Station & Platform
1,213 Capitol & Rice St Station & Platform
695 Robert St Station & Platform
844 10th St Station & Platform
2,611 Central Station & Platform
1,115 Union Depot Station & Platform
37,385 Green Line Total
It’s great to see that Nicollet Mall is still the most popular station on the line, I heard foot traffic has increased by 20% on the mall. It’s going to be interesting to see what retail goes in Nic on Fifth and 4marq because obviously they’re going to be seem by many people every day.
Well the East Bank station has considerably more boardings (5105>2897)
I’ve been really surprised at how busy the Nicollet Mall station has been on game days (obviously, a rather different thing). I guess those people must be transferring from buses or something? It doesn’t seem like a great area to park and ride from.
When we went to the Metrodome, usually once every couple of years, we’d always park in the Nicollet Mall area, it’s logical coming in from the south and parking was cheaper. Maybe people are doing this and hopping on the train instead of walking, especially since it’s now at TCF.
Compare those numbers to the 2030 ridership projections in the 2008 FEIS http://www.metrocouncil.org/Transportation/Projects/Current-Projects/Central-Corridor/Publications-And-Resources/Environmental/CC-SDEIS/Published-SDEIS/CC-SDEIS-Ch6-pdf.aspx coupled with the infill station projections found here http://www.metrocouncil.org/Transportation/Projects/Current-Projects/Central-Corridor/Publications-And-Resources/Environmental/Infill-Stations-Environmental-Assessment/Central-Corridor-Infill-Stations-Final-Environment.aspx
Target Field Station 400
Warehouse District/Hennepin Avenue 3,700
Nicollet Mall 6,690
Government Plaza 1,050
Downtown East / Metrodome 4,120
West Bank Station 1,200
East Bank Station 6,680
Stadium Village Station 970
29th Avenue Station 960
Westgate Station 1,130
Raymond Avenue Station 1,250
Fairview Avenue Station 1,900
Snelling Avenue Station 2,930
Lexington Parkway Station 930
Dale Street Station 710
Rice Street Station 1,200 + Capitol East Station 390 = 1,590
10th Street Station 1,860
4th and Cedar Streets Station 1,200
Union Depot Station 2,120
Total Daily Boardings 42,960
Western should be 270 in that. Ugh.
– There’s been diversion of ridership from East Bank (predicted) to West Bank (actual), and from Union Depot (predicted) to 4th & Cedar (actual).
– There are far fewer people in the downtown Minneapolis segment than predicted.
– Every other area (outside downtown Minneapolis) is getting significantly more riders than predicted.
Very good, but unfortunately as expected there’s little indication of reduction in automobile traffic on I-94.
Why would there be? The only things that would reduce traffic on I-94 is congestion or tolling.
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Soooo, with route 16 having an anemic fraction of its former ridership, how long until Metro Transit proposes getting rid of it and using the money to run other, more popular routes?
I understand that they had to keep route 16 around to satisfy people’s worries… but now that it’s clear that people are using the LRT, it doesn’t make much sense to keep it around any more.