Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sacramento Light Rail Ridership up 43%

Since last year (!). They did open a new line (to Folsom), which helps boost statistics, but overall they must be doing something essentially right too. LRT ridership is now higher than bus ridership.

Random picture of Sacto LR I took a few years ago

Just goes to show that rail transit really can work, even in a city that developed through decades of auto-oriented sprawl.

So VTA, what's your excuse?

I expect a big part of Sacto LR's success is that routes are fairly straight, reasonably fast (transit doesn't have to run at bullet-train speeds, or even be faster than driving--just don't make it painfully, insultingly slow), and building lines to run where people actually want to go.

Pretty basic stuff, but you'd be surprised how often transit "professionals" overlook these factors!

For more insight into the capitol city scene, I recommend reading these blogs:


Fritz said...

LRT from Winchester to Diridon is reasonably fast. It's going from San Jose to Mountain View that's truly pitiful.

295bus said...

I agree about the Winchester/Campbell line--goes pretty much in a straight line, on a dedicated right of way, right to CalTrain and then downtown.

And every time I've ridden it, the trains have been decently full (unlike Tasman West, which in off-peak hours can be downright lonely!).

I expect that ridership in the new line will increase, too, since I see a *lot* development going in around stations.

The final leg between CalTrain and downtown SJ is still roundabout and annoying, though. It's convenient if you're going to the Childrens' Discovery Museum (which we've done), but I think just heading straight east on San Carlos or Santa Clara would get the vast majority of riders to where they want to be about 5 mins quicker.

That's nitpicking, though. I just wish the rest of the system had been built as sensibly as this line.