GoodMan wrote me a comment on my previous blog entry asking:
CCTGirl: What are the top 5 mass transit system in America and which is most successful, as defined by ridership? Also, of the 3 most successful, what is the percentage of ridership per capita?
I feel the need to preface this with the fact that I am not a true transit geek, I just hangout out them (ps How do you know my name, dude? Do I know you in real life?). With that being said, I’m using two websites to answer this question, Wikipedia, of course, and the American Public Transportation Association. But I am a statistician, which means I’m able to make some sense out of these damned reports. What I’ve discovered is a little startling, because it goes against one of my facts I’ve been touting (and I do love my facts). With that being said, I’ve been told (by One and Two, the resident true transit geeks) that MARTA is the 9th largest transit system in the nation.
Well, based on the ridership for the 3rd quarter of 2009 (the most recent info reported), the top ten transit systems in the US are:
1. MTA – New York City. Average Weekday Ridership: 9,651,600
2. CTA – Chicago. Average Weekday Ridership: 1,673,400 (that is a huge drop, y’all)
3. LA MTA – Los Angeles County. Average Weekday Ridership: 1,255,900
4. WMATA – Washington, DC. Average Weekday Ridership: 1,447,000 (does this include the Senate’s private train?
5. MBTA – Boston. Average Weekday Ridership: 1,231,200. (the oldest heavy rail system in the us!)
6. SPTA – Philadelphia. Average Weekday Ridership: 1,010,200.
7. Muni – San Francisco. Average Weekday Boogies: 805,600 (are you paying attention?)
8. MARTA – Atlanta. Average Weekday Ridership: 482,500 (get y’alls butt on the bus!)
9. MTA – Baltimore. Average Weekday Ridership: 415,900.
10. King County Department of Transportation – Seattle. Average Weekday Ridership: 374,300.
(for sh*ts and giggles, CTA – Charlotte, our biggest competition is terms of proximity and crap and taunting us with their fancy light rail car is currently rocking a AWR of 103,400.)
Now, I have ranked these by combining all modes of transit in a system (but not the metro areas), so rail and bus and trolley and pony rides. Two says that who 9th thing was based on previous ridership data, so we may actually be moving up But we are in no competition for the 7th spot. In other random transit facts that you never needed to know, we are 7th largest heavy rail system and 11th largest bus system. Y’all really don’t like buses.
Part one of the question down. Second part. I don’t know how to answer that, mainly, GoodMan, because you used the word successful. Success is relative, and all transit systems are suffering right now (except for, apparently CCT - the bane of my existence). And I know WMATA (thanks to my good friend MetroMan) is facing some Draconian cuts of their own, and that’s the fourth largest system. There’s even this dirty rumor of them stopping service at 10pm. For now, they’ve raised fares. So I’m going to ignore the concept of success for the moment, and continue with ranking them by ridership.
Now. Math time! Populations and % of ridership per capita.
1. NYC. Pop: 8,363,710. Ridership: 115% (do they just pay the unemployed to ride the bus?!?!)
2. Chicago. Pop: 2,853,114. Ridership: 58%
3. LA. Pop: 3,833,995. Ridership: 32% (ouch, dudes)
4. DC. Pop: 591,883. Ridership: 244% (take that, NYC!)
5. Boston. Pop: 650,535. Ridership: 189%
6. Philly. Pop: 1,540,351. Ridership: 65%
7. San Fran. Pop: 808,976. Ridership: 99% (wow, nearly everyone rides!)
8. Atlanta. Pop: 537,958. Ridership: 89% (that’s pretty good, except no one actually lives in Atlanta)
9. Baltimore: Pop: 636, 919. Ridership: 65%
10. Seattle. Pop: 598,541. Ridership: 62%
And Charlotte – Pop: 687,456. Ridership: 15% (y’all are not nearly as cool as you think)
That makes us the 5th largest! Yay! Of course, those numbers that are more than 100% make sense if you factor in commuters from the greater metro areas. And, just to make you go hmm lets’s see how those cities rank in terms of population.
NYC – Largest city in the US
LA – 2nd. Get the hell out of your cars!
Chicago – 3rd. Good showing, guys!
Philly – 6th.
San Fran – 12th.
Charlotte – 19th. I had no clue!
Baltimore – 20th
Boston- 21st (you guys kick Baltimore’s butt!)
Seattle – 25th
DC – 27th
Atlanta – 33rd.
By my analysis, I think this means we make a damned good showing and we should be proud! Give yourselves a hand, Atlanta! Of course, this in no way factors in the greater metro areas, which is just really sad for all of these cities, because I did look at that, and we’re not going there. Get out of your cars, people!
My head hurts. That is a 33 page report, mind you. And time spent with a calculator. Good thing I really do love this blog and transit, and you reader types. CCT boasts a ridership of 15,000 a day! GRTA is 7,800 (and we’re building them HOT lanes? That’s just ludicrous!) But I think this is a good argument towards lobbying for what we have, plus more additions if people will give us some money! (*ahem* State of Georgia reps)
Okay, I’m bored. Does that answer your question, GoodMan?