Metrolink is reporting ridership is down. In spite of moving Metrolink headquarters into the Downtown Los Angeles offices of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LACMTA) it hasn’t translated into increasing ridership. For either agency.
A sure sign ridership is down on public transportation is when the rates increase. LACMTA announced rates are increasing this month and so far, Metrolink rates have remained constant.
The national trend on public transportation usage is holding steady, but not in Los Angeles. At the peak of the recession, in 2009, public transportation was in huge demand and so was carsharing. Both LACMTA and Metrolink missed the mark and didn’t jump on board the shared ride bandwagon. The company formerly known as Flexcar, now Zipcar, also shared space with LACMTA back in 2005. Trying to convince LACMTA to create a turnkey system was challenging, to say the least. Not only was there no synergy between the two and LACMTA heads had ZERO vision for how to grow their ridership.
Metrolink boasts that in 2009 they reached a peak of 12.3 million tickets purchased and in a short five years, ridership is down by 600,000. Had LACMTA and Metrolink partnered with a carshare, they would have been able to maintain their customer base. People need to be able to get to their “last mile” which public transportation is missing. LACMTA doesn’t run a 24/7 operation, so after 3 AM, you are stuck.
This is where services such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and now ToroRide save the day. They run 24/7 rideshare operations and are able to maneuver riders completely off public transportation and back into a car.
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