Comment of the Day: I Am a Metro Rider, I Contain Multitudes

COMMENT OF THE DAY: I AM A METRO RIDER, I CONTAIN MULTITUDES “There are valid reasons for the increase in boardings, which sound like a lot but are only +4.65 percent year-over-year. FYI — a boarding is counted every time that a person steps across the threshold of a transit vehicle . . . To put things in perspective, that means that if I’m a park-and-ride commuter and I have to make 2 transfers each way every day of a 5-day work week to get where I’m going, I count for 30 boardings per week and 1,500 boardings per fifty-workweek year. It’d only take 60,000 of me to account for all of METRO’s users. That isn’t to try to generalize about their user base, but it is to demonstrate that not all boardings are created equal, and that the circumstances of even some modest fraction of super-users can easily help to make these big numbers possible.” [TheNiche, commenting on First Signs of This Year’s Sargassum Seaweed Invasion; Houston’s Top Crime Spots]

6 Comment

  • This is true enough, and with the recent re-imaging of the Metro (which was nicely done, BTW) the number of boardings is again inflated. The biggie, obviously, was the introduction of the rail lines, which are now solo servers of areas that were once served by multiple routes.

  • I’m pretty sure that Metro didn’t come up with this method of counting, if I lived in Munich and worked at the BMW factory, but lived 3 subway stops away, I’d count as 3 boardings there too.
    You have to be counted every time you make a transfer, if they could somehow differentiate between a transfer or a new rider, for the transfer, which metro ride would count higher? By making 2 transfers, that means there’s 3 different routes you are taking, which one should get the count for the boarding, if we’re only counting one boarding per trip? The park and ride you originated from? The light rail line you make the first transfer on? The bus route you make your final transfer on?
    What about the ride back? Is there a time limit on when you stop counting?
    It’s not like some guy is getting on the rail at Fannin and then getting off at each platform to wait for the next train so he can inflate the number of train riders.

  • ugh, not if I lived 3 stops, but 3 subway lines (2 transfers).

  • @ toasty: I didn’t mean to imply that METRO is doing anything out of the ordinary in terms of generating their ridership stats. In my CotD, I meant only to explain how the math works because other people that had commented on the original story expressing disbelief that such numbers were at all possible.
    In the past, however, I had been critical of METRO for truncating bus routes along the Red Line (back when there was only the Red Line) seemingly in order to force additional transfers that wouldn’t have been necessary prior to its existence. That is one reason why the Red Line, a wholly locally-financed “starter line”, achieved such notoriously high ridership per mile without necessarily reflecting very well on systemwide use and efficiency stats.

  • Meh…. transfers smanfers… I’d be happier to ride the rail if they addressed the homeless/mental illness riders who use the trains as shelter, and do something about the McGowen Southbound “urinals” behind the ticket machine where the ground was wet from urine and you had to step in it to buy a ticket. I have never smelled such a stench of urine so bad, even worse that what I remember at the Astrodome with no water flowing in the urinal trough!

  • @MontroseResident – But if they prevented the bums from riding, those impressive boarding numbers would be cut in half…