Monday, February 18, 2008

Lynx ridership down, but tops predictions

The Charlotte Area Transit System recently released ridership numbers for January, with the Lynx Blue Line showing a slight decrease in ridership.

Light rail averaged 11,930 weekday trips in January, down from 12,457 in December, the first full month of operation. Sunday ridership in January was 6,249, down from 7,460 the month before. The biggest change was on Saturday. There were 8,157 trips in January, down from 12,871.

What does that mean?

CATS projected the first year of light rail would average 9,100 weekday trips, so the transit agency is far ahead of that pace, with a two-month weekday average of 12,194. It also predicted there would be a drop once the novelty of the train wore off.

January didn’t have any Panthers games, where as December had two Sunday homes dates and a Saturday night game against Dallas.

But CATS will likely get a boost from special events in the next two months. The CIAA Tournament, the ACC Tournament and the NCAA East Regional will fill trains, especially on weekends.

CATS overall ridership – trains, buses, and shuttles – was up 9.4 percent in January compared to the same time a year earlier. That should be obvious considering the additional of the Lynx, but some cities have seen rail ridership cannibalize existing bus ridership.


Anonymous said...

Light rail averaged 11,930 weekday trips in January

How many of these trips were properly paid for? We don't care about the ones where someone rode for free. The job of the light rail is not to provide free rides.

Anonymous said...


stay off the computer, get a job so you can move out of your mothers basement.

get a life, and i hope i never see you on the light rail.

we dont need you, your 1.30, or your moronic statements.

Anonymous said...

It'll be interesting to see how weekend ridership changes if/when there is more shopping and more activities uptown on the weekend in addition to events at the arena and stadium. It's the best way to get there and you don't have to pay for parking.

Good to see it's doing well. I'm looking forward to the expansion.

What is the ETA on roundtrip tickets and paying with debit cards?

Also, how, exactly, is ridership counted?

Anonymous said...


So you're OK with people defrauding the system by riding the trains for free?

It's rather obvious that you don't 'need' riders or their buck-thirty in order to have trains, as the system has operated under a 'damn the costs, full speed ahead' mentality from its inception. 'Need' was never a consideration of the light rail; it was purely a 'want'.

But obviously you missed the point of the first Anon's question, which was that it doesn't matter how many people RIDE the train; what matters is how many people PAY to ride the train. You could have a million riders but if no one pays, then the system is just a financial black hole.

Anonymous said...

To Anon #2: Get a life. God forbid anyone should criticize the Lynx system for its shortcomings. Someone makes a valid criticism and all you can do is make some weak retort about living in his mother's basement. Why don't you address his actual comment instead of resorting to insults?

Really, really weak.

Anonymous said...

all of you are losers who love to complain, instead of DOING something. obviously the job of the light rail is not to provide free rides. those are his words, is that really an enlightened insight.

you anonymous bloggers are pathetic, again, get off your computer, go on a date or something, and if charlotte sucks so much, then please do all of us a favor and just leave.

do you really feel powerful venting on a website, did you go out and make speeches against the light rail before the vote. the people that tried to repeal the tax costs us 900,000 dollars that could have been used in a much better way. dont ride the train, we dont need you whining people. cant you come up with more original stuff to complain about than light rail. democracy worked just fine, the anti light rail side actually got more signatures on the repeal petition than votes.

how does it feel to have so little power?

Karl Bergstrom said...

"you anonymous bloggers are pathetic"

Coming from someone who posted under the name "anonymous", that's rich. Is your real name Mr. Pot, or is it Mr. Kettle?

And I love how the response from people like you is always "If you don't like it, leave". My response: No. Those of us who want to complain are free to complain all we want. It's part of living in a democracy, something you obviously know virtually nothing about. For you to demand an end to complaining and criticism shows what kind of fascist you and people like you really are.

But hey, that's what liberalism is all about, isn't it? Forcing everyone else to agree with you and to pay for what you want.

Anonymous said...

31 days in January, so that is 385 per day. Let's divide by two for round trips. That means that all those millions and millions of dollars were spent to give 193 people a ride.

Why did Charlotte not just buy that many limousines, and hire the drivers to drive them. It would have been much much cheaper.

j said...

To all anon's:
the purpose of lightrail is not to make a profit (when was the last time you saw one of NC's Interstates or highways make a profit... exactly they dont) The purpose is to provide greater capacity to our region's infrastructure. (yes way more people drive on 77 than ride the train, but the train still has a greater hourly capacity than 77). That may not make a difference now but by 2030 or so when traffic is worse than anyone imagined, we will be glad lightrail is here and that it was constructed ahead of time. Also the state is going to figure out that the cost to just add one lane in each direction from uptown to 485will more than likely be a multi-billion dollar project that could take several years.
To 6:54:
im not sure where those numbers came from but the use of a calculator may have helped.

Anonymous said...

nice showing in the referendum Karl. you paid for more signatures than you got votes.

way to rise up and show us whose boss.

not sure its liberalism, just good old fashioned power. we get stuff done while guys like you complain and complain year after year.

charlotte's future - 1
whining internet geeks - 0

Anonymous said...

This one goes out to the ridership math genious out there who posted 6:54 on 2/18. Good job on the math dip wad. You only missed one thing....the stat was average weekday ridership. That means, on the average weekday during January, 11,930 people rode the train...EACH DAY. With exactly 20 weekdays in January, 238,600 trips (119,300 Round Trip people), NOT including weekend ridership, rode the trains in January.

It's obvious to me that you do NOT ride the train, since at peak times, there are close to 200 people packed into a 2 car train.

So, I'll let YOU pay for the limos to take the 119,000+ (half of 238,000 if the math is still a challenge for you) daily riders to work. Aren't ya glad now that you posted anonymously???

It amazes me that the people that think they have all of the answers, usually have none of the facts....

Rick said...

This is not a complaint, so please don't get all wound up.

It will be interesting to see what the ridership numbers are during the summer when there are no sporting events Uptown and road traffic is much lighter on the daily commute.

Anonymous said...

You are all a bunch of Neo-Con wackos. Glad I live uptown and away from Suburban madness. Please stay out of the loop.

Justin Ritchie said...

How come every mention of light rail deteriorates into name calling? Come on people, it is public transportation... not a religion or political leader.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bergstrom,

So are you going to cry like a little girl if the Observer does endorse Clinton ?

Typical GOP pussy. Go cry a river you little bitch.

Anonymous said...

Wow, nice to see the libs resorting to name-calling once again. "Pussy", "bitch"? Seems like you need to have some sensitivity training and lay off the misogynistic insults.

Anonymous said...

I buy a monthly pass, but have taken a break in February from Lynx. Until cold & flu season is over (for both me and other riders), it's going to be sporadic trips for me.

Anonymous said...

I think that one of the reasons that ridership may have fallen is that the trains are becoming uncomfortably crowded at rush hour times. I have ridden a few that were busier than any transit I've ridden in Philly, NYC, Atlanta or DC. I think that Lynx needs to get more trains to link so that rush hour trains aren't just one single train.

All that considered, Lynx has been a great success to me. I ride it at least four days a week and love being able to listen to an Ipod instead of cursing at the car in front of me. Though my commute is often now a little longer, its ALWAYS shorter on Friday afternoon!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the roaring success of Lynx. Real cities have subways or light rail. It is a major attraction for business and young, well-educated people who want to live in a vibrant city with good public transporation. Charlotte should ignore the complaints of hillbilly bozos who are stuck in a bygone age.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't go anywhere, no really.
If you work in downtown, or attend some venue such as sporting events etc fine, it is great, but if you work in other area's of Charlotte, it's not all.

Perplexed said...

I'm still trying to see the benefit of the light rail, other than it may be cheaper to park and ride than pay for parking uptown. As a former uptown worker, this is the only benefit I see. Driving South Blvd everyday and living in South Charlotte, I don't see any reduction in traffic on South Blvd. For me personally, this would be the only benefit.

Anonymous said...


good question...the answer is in the numbers, which do not lie. the south corridor transit line has generated over 1 billion in new development. the reason that is important is that those new tax funds generated help shelter the tax load for all of us. no light rail, less development, less taxes (and the same amount of people moving to our city every year) = overburdening our city resources and infastructure. certainly you dont think that each person pays enough taxes to cover each person's expenses in a city. ask Cleveland, Ohio is new development is importnat to a city.

Anonymous said...

light rail is sweet. we need about 10 more lines around town. so pay up ppl.

Anonymous said...

$468 million / 12194 riders =
$38,379 per rider
We could have bought them all a BMW or Lexus

camfinch said...

"$468 million / 12194 riders =
$38,379 per rider"

No, think logically. Multiply number of riders by the number of days over, say, 25 years. You're doing a cost analysis on the basis of one day's average ridership!

Anonymous said...

Someone skipped algebra...

"$468 million / 12194 riders =
$38,379 per rider"

12,194 riders/ PER MONTH
468 million dollars TOTAL

468 million was not spent in one month. After 50 years, come back to this website and we can divide TOTAL cost by TOTAL ridership... i'll be waiting!

Anonymous said...

I love these math genuises (anon 3:11)

11,930 (actual number) riders for one day. Cut it in half for return trips and you have 5965 riders.

5965 x $45,000 (Lexus) = $268,425,000

So, it would cost you half the total cost of the light rail to buy one day of riders a Lexus.

Yes, by all means let's start purchasing Lexus' for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Do we have to buy the fuel for their Lexus' too? And pay for their maintainance? Tires for Lexus' are very expensive. And we have to pay for the insurance too!? Oh man. And the unseen costs of carbon emissions and depletion of natural resources?

Well, I'll take the $1.30 over that anyday! I'm not some carniverous money monster. Are you?

Anonymous said...

So you all are assuming that the Lynx system is free to operate now that it has been built? I guess all those employees, replacement parts, electricity, and all that is free, huh?

Anonymous said...

A couple of points:

1. Yes, the train adds to the transportation infrastructure, but only along a very specific route. I'm not aware of any evidence that the capacity of the surface streets along that route was insufficient.

2. Yes, the train is capable of carrying more perosns per hour than is I-77. That however, is irrlelvant, since the I-77 and the train do not travel the same of a similar route.

3. The infrastructure cost of the rail line, if it is to be compared to anything, should be compared to the cost of roads, not the vehicles that travel on them. And to be useful the cost used should exclude the cost of the trians themselves. All of that, of course, ignores the operaitng cost of the trains, which is substantial. It is utterly pointless to compare a trian to a car: the car will win hands down evyr time. Comparison of operating cost to a bus is both more analogous, and results ina closer number. IT remains, hpwever, that light rail is the most expensive urban transportation option, bot to build and to operate.

j said...

Yes lightrail is expensive, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure that out. However, I think it to be a worthwhile investment in our region's infrastructure for the future, not to mention the billion+ dollars in developement that has been spurred by the Lynx. The trip will always take 25 minutes, that can not be said for the grwoing congestion on our roads.

FYI: it takes me on avarge about 30 minutes to drive from 485 to Uptown on South Blvd, some mornings 77 is even worse than that.
To 6:56 im not sure where you came up with that since 77 is about a mile west of the Lynx line for its entire route.

Anonymous said...

These Morons are still fighting and arguing over the rail. Get over it already. It's a great success.

Anonymous said...

Does it concern anyone that a TERRORIST had a bomb in his trunk near the MATTHEWS area; This is really scary and how many more PUNKS have a PIPE BOMB in their trunk and for what reason. In a city this size its really reprehensible.
Jimmy the earthworm

Anonymous said...

Im afraid some asshole is going to run the trains barriers and cause me to break my neck; In NORTH CAROLINA there is no disability so if your get hurt your on your own. They need more lines real quick but wheres the beef or the money; McCrory wants to be Governor fine but dont walk out on an unfinished city.
Harley 'the axman' Beefaroni