Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How CATS is counting

The Charlotte Area Transit System has released two months of ridership data for the Lynx Blue Line. Several people have e-mailed asking how CATS tallies its passengers, so here is a brief explanation:

CATS will soon have automatic passenger counters above the doors in all Lynx cars. It expects them to be ready this spring, but until then, the transit agency is relying on a sample of passengers.

In the first two days of operation, back in November, CATS had a near 100 percent count. Since then, it has sampled about 8 or 9 percent of weekday trains, and more on weekends. The transit agency said it’s following Federal Transit Administration guidelines.

A computer randomly picks which trains to count, and a subcontractor then assigns people to keep track of who gets on and off.

When the automatic people counters are working, CATS – and anyone else - will be able to dig deep and analyze ridership trends. What’s the busiest train? Is ridership increasing or decreasing on a particular train?


Eric said...

thanks for the info steve. I'd have to say I for one am glad to see you doing these posts. It's refreshing to begin see the information begin flowing again for the Charlotte area.

Will you have a Q & A Section?

Anonymous said...

Instead of spending money on counters that I am sure will not be all that accurate, why don't they just count tickets sold?

I understand that isn't perfect either but at least that doesn't cost money.

Anonymous said...

Light rail got into its first of many accidents; Luckily this was just a minor incident; I predict someone will knock the train right off the tracks or a car will be turned over by the train; They broke the Carnal rule when making a subway " You never want to cross a road". They sold them a lemon on safety because they crossed three times and without gaurdrails.
Piggy parlor

Anonymous said...

Whoever desinged the LIGHTRRAIl should be looked into for safety violations on the design; No gaurd rails to stop cars from almost a head on with the train. It will happen because People drive like lunatics and will drive over top of you on the freeway. They beep , wave the finger-guns and fists and then drive on to CHURCH service. This is the roughneck town this is becoming; I had a person drive into the emergency lane on the right side just to pass me. In my town if you are caught in there you go to jail for the night and a $275 dollar fine. No Laws down here.

eye_dee_ten_tea said...

Their people counters seem to work much better than their cost counters.

Anonymous said...

Uh, there are laws against driving in emergency lanes, reckless driving, ignoring train signals, etc. It is impossible to catch everyone everytime.

It is not the light rails fault the car crashed into yesterday. The idiot drove around the crossing arms when they were down and lights were flashing about a train coming.

Frankly, the idiot driver deserved it, and should be flat-out embarrased.

Anonymous said...

whens the rest of the outerbelt getting done in the next twenty five years; Its getting slower and slower and the traffic is getting bigger and bigger; They need to use prison labor or some of these beatnicks coming into town and give them ten bucks an hour to rake a freeway in. No wonder this town gets attacked by FORBES they probably ran into a traffic jam.

Patrick P said...

In response to the second comment re: counters -
There's no way to know how many times someone actually rides if they use, say, a monthly CATS pass. I personally use (and have observed that many other commuters use) the monthly pass. But I also use it on weekends and midday. So if they used a ticket count, I would be invisible.

As to LRT safety, I feel far, far more comfortable and safe on the train than I ever did driving down South Blvd.

Ray said...

It will be interesting to see once they have the electronic counters in place how it matches up with purchased tickets.

I use a monthly CATS bus pass though, so I won't be counted in the "revenue" section of that total, I surmise.