Thursday, October 6, 2011

San Diego is doing something right: Double digit gains in Coaster and Sprinter ridership

The American Public Transportation Association has put out a report on growth in the use of public transit in the first six months of 2011 compared to 2010 and San Diego comes out leading the rest of California in terms of percentage gain. In light rail, Sprinter posted an 11.55% year over year gain, while the San Diego Trolley came in second with a 7.4% increase. Similarly, commuter rail showed a 17.13% increase for the Coaster. Altamont Commuter Express came in second with a 9.37% increase, closely followed by the Capitol Corridor's 9.17%. Metrolink, by contrast, came in at an utterly anemic 1.7% increase in year over year ridership.

While these figures are certainly going to be a bit inflated by the low starting position that San Diego's lines began from, compared to the rest of Californian systems (in absolute terms, for instance, Caltrain had three times the increase of Coaster), they still represent a major increase. They also pose an interesting question that I do not have the answer for at present: Why is Coaster doing so well while Metrolink is not?

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