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Passenger Trains > Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June


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Date: 08/13/19 06:58
Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: Duna

"June 2019 transit ridership was 2.9 percent lower than in June 2018, according to the Federal Transit Administration’s most recent data release*

Ridership dropped in all major modes, including bus, commuter rail, heavy rail, and light rail. Ridership also dropped in 41 of the nation’s 50 largest urban areas, declining even in Seattle, which had previously appeared immune to the decline that is afflicting most of the nation’s transit industry.

http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=16351

* https://www.transit.dot.gov/ntd/data-product/monthly-module-adjusted-data-release



Date: 08/13/19 07:56
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: inCHI

You could at least quote this: "June had 20 workdays in 2019 compared with 21 in 2018. The National Household Transportation Survey estimates that about 40 percent of transit ridership is work-related, so one fewer day accounts for about 1.9 percent of the decline in ridership. So at least a third of the decline must be due to other factors."

-1% is a bit different from -2.9%

I read the whole thing, and then searched for these words or phrases: gas price, ride share, uber, lyft, via, bike, scooter. All of those are factors at the moment, and this analysis doesn't bother to mention any of them? Rideshare alone could be the cause of the 1% drop. If it was, it can't be taken as his "transit death spiral" because if any thing a "rideshare death spiral" is more plausible considering Uber and Lyft both had poor IPO's, are bleeding cash, have no path to profit, and have to raise fares while cutting quality. There is a substantial layer of people using rideshare while it is cheap who will stop as the price gets higher and higher.

Then, there are so many omissions in this. First of all, the graphs are comically cherry picked. Oh wow, a graph showing negative transit numbers in Memphis, San Antonio, Austin, Sacramento, Riverside, Detroit, Virginia Beach, and Washington. Every one of those cities except one (Washington) is a place where you might forget there even is a transit option.

Then, another graph of "Transit Ridership Trends", with the caption is "Rust Belt, Sun Belt, new city, old city, rails, buses, all are experiencing declining transit ridership."

That title and caption deliberately is trying to suggest the whole trend, yet what it shows is deliberately cherry picked to present the worst. I don't have the time right now to look up all the data, but why are these cities not in the graph:

"old city": NYC, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, and others
"new city": Denver, Portland, Seattle, and more

I have a guess - because the long term trend doesn't look that bad visually, so it doesn't fit into the spin. What garbage.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 07:57 by inCHI.




Date: 08/13/19 08:14
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: Duna

So, you saying transit ridership is up.

Is that your point?  If so, how about presenting data that contradicts the FTA data in the link?

Or is the FTA lying?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 08:21 by Duna.



Date: 08/13/19 08:29
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: inCHI

I'm not saying it is up nor am I saying the FRA data is wrong. I am saying I find the analysis to be unobjective and unilluminating. He is trying to present the worst view of the data, and to do so, and in the service of that, uses brazenly biased methods of analysing the data.

Again, how can that many paragraphs be written about the decline without a single mention of the main competing factors that affect transit usage, which are gas prices, rideshare, and to some small extent, bikes or scooters?



Date: 08/13/19 08:34
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: Duna

inCHI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm not saying it is up nor am I saying the FRA
> data is wrong. I am saying I find the analysis to
> be unobjective and unilluminating.


How is this unobjective (aka subjective)? "Ridership dropped in all major modes, including bus, commuter rail, heavy rail, and light rail. Ridership also dropped in 41 of the nation’s 50 largest urban areas."


He is trying to
> present the worst view of the data, and to do so,
> and in the service of that, uses brazenly biased
> methods of analysing the data.
>
> Again, how can that many paragraphs be written
> about the decline without a single mention of the
> main competing factors that affect transit usage,
> which are gas prices, rideshare, and to some small
> extent, bikes or scooters?



So now you're saying ridership is decining?

Is it, or is it not?

 



Date: 08/13/19 09:20
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: chrsjrcj

At my local agency, June ridership was down a percent or so, but July ridership was up the same amount. As inCHI mentioned, this is likely attributed to the number of weekdays compared to 2018. We can basically say ridership is flat, which isn’t that bad considering funding hasn’t increased to match our growing population in the last few years.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/13/19 09:54
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: inCHI

Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> So now you're saying ridership is decining?
>
> Is it, or is it not?
>
Why are you saying "now"? I never said ridership was increasing, was flat, or wasn't declining. You're using that as a strawman against my criticism of the approach to the data.

My issue is with the overt method of that write up. He uses the phrase "death spiral of transit". It is clear that is the starting point, and from there he uses the FTA data to present cherry picked info to get the data out that looks the worst and can back up that ridiculous death spiral starting point. That is why I am questioning the lack of any mention of the temporary factors that reduce transit ridership - gas prices and ridesharing.



Date: 08/13/19 10:15
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: Duna

inCHI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Duna Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > So now you're saying ridership is decining?
> >
> > Is it, or is it not?
> >
> Why are you saying "now"? I never said ridership
> was increasing, was flat, or wasn't declining.
> You're using that as a strawman against my
> criticism of the approach to the data.
>
> My issue is with the overt method of that write
> up. He uses the phrase "death spiral of transit".
> It is clear that is the starting point, and from
> there he uses the FTA data to present cherry
> picked info to get the data out that looks the
> worst and can back up that ridiculous death spiral
> starting point. That is why I am questioning the
> lack of any mention of the temporary factors that
> reduce transit ridership - gas prices and
> ridesharing.



It's a summary meant for popular consumption (like railfans and other people with an interest in transportation, demographics, urban geography, etc.). An introduction- but witrh citations & links to the source data.. If you want to delve into academic reports, they are going to show the same results.

Data is not cherry-picked, but representative. Feel free to cherry-pick some systems that show ridership growth over 1 or 5 years and post the figs.  There are some citys with growth, but they are anomalities. Then there's NYC.

From the article:
"The most devastating results come from comparing the last full year* — July 2018 through June 2019—with the same time period five years before — July 2013 through June 2014. Over that five-year period, a dozen of the nation’s 50 major urban areas lost 20 percent of their riders or more; 30 lost 10 percent or more; and only 7 saw ridership grow. Thanks to New York’s dominance — it now hosts 44 percent of the nation’s transit trips — and the fact that it lost only 3.3 percent of its riders in that period, the nationwide decline was 8.1 percent. But that still translates to a loss of 845 million rides per year."

The long-term trend is down and has been for almost 100 years. Why the trend exists or changing the trend are different stories.


* comparing full year or more gets rid of the "extra day in month" complication.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 11:49 by Duna.



Date: 08/13/19 11:06
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: kevink

Merely looking at the data without a discussion of the causes for an increase or decrease does nothing.

As does comparing transit from 100 years ago to today.
 



Date: 08/13/19 11:08
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: SP4360

You just gotta love a guy with an  anti rail agenda  pulling out partial facts to try to make his point.  

Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> inCHI Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Duna Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> >
> > > So now you're saying ridership is decining?
> > >
> > > Is it, or is it not?
> > >
> > Why are you saying "now"? I never said
> ridership
> > was increasing, was flat, or wasn't declining.
> > You're using that as a strawman against my
> > criticism of the approach to the data.
> >
> > My issue is with the overt method of that write
> > up. He uses the phrase "death spiral of
> transit".
> > It is clear that is the starting point, and
> from
> > there he uses the FTA data to present cherry
> > picked info to get the data out that looks the
> > worst and can back up that ridiculous death
> spiral
> > starting point. That is why I am questioning
> the
> > lack of any mention of the temporary factors
> that
> > reduce transit ridership - gas prices and
> > ridesharing.
>
>
>
> It's a summary meant for popular consumption (like
> railfans and other people with an interest in
> transportation, demographics, urban geography,
> etc.). An introduction- but witrh citations &
> links to the source data.. If you want to delve
> into academic reports, they are going to show the
> same results.
>
> Data is not cherry-picked, but representative.
> Feel free to cherry-pick some systems that show
> ridership growth over 1 or 5 years and post the
> figs.  There are some citys with growth, but they
> are anomalities. Thene there's NYC.
>
> From the article:
> "The most devastating results come from comparing
> the last full year* — July 2018 through June
> 2019—with the same time period five years before
> — July 2013 through June 2014. Over that
> five-year period, a dozen of the nation’s 50
> major urban areas lost 20 percent of their riders
> or more; 30 lost 10 percent or more; and only 7
> saw ridership grow. Thanks to New York’s
> dominance — it now hosts 44 percent of the
> nation’s transit trips — and the fact that it
> lost only 3.3 percent of its riders in that
> period, the nationwide decline was 8.1 percent.
> But that still translates to a loss of 845 million
> rides per year."
>
> The long-term trend is down and has been for
> almost 100 years. Why the trend exists or changing
> the trend are different stories.
>
>
> * comparing full year or more gets rid of the
> "extra day in month" complication.



Date: 08/13/19 11:28
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: Duna

kevink Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Merely looking at the data without a discussion of
> the causes for an increase or decrease does
> nothing.
>
> As does comparing transit from 100 years ago to
> today.
>  



So the source DOT/FTA table is meaningless?
https://www.transit.dot.gov/ntd/data-product/monthly-module-adjusted-data-release

Don't just "merely look" at the data. Do something with it.

Accurate data is never good or bad- it just is. It's a tool.

 



Date: 08/13/19 12:05
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: stash

Who really cares anyway?

Posted from Android



Date: 08/13/19 16:38
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: AndyBrown

stash Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Who really cares anyway?

Duna and inCHI.    :-)

Andy



Date: 08/13/19 16:45
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: ProAmtrak

SP4360 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You just gotta love a guy with an  anti rail
> agenda  pulling out partial facts to try to make
> his point.  
>

I was gonna say something but you beat me too it, Duna and View are the only 2 Anti Rail people who seems to try to put facts to prove their points and each time they get shot down, and they're too stubborn to admit it!



Date: 08/13/19 17:09
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: wingomann

I wonder how much people being able to work from home is impacting the numbers too.
Is the traffic in the coresponding areas getting worse or staying about the same?  How about employment in the areas in question?  



Date: 08/13/19 20:44
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: Lurch_in_ABQ

Since all numbers, anaysis and conclusions are meaningless, flip the chart and read ridership over time from right to left. Transit ridership is up, up, up!
Or, if that chart doesn't suit your ideology, use the original chart. Everybody happy.
 




Date: 08/14/19 02:39
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: SANSR

Good call, Lurch!



Date: 08/14/19 03:58
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: mundo

Why even respondt to Duna,  do not give him the time of day.



Date: 08/14/19 14:08
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: Cole42

ProAmtrak Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SP4360 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > You just gotta love a guy with an  anti rail
> > agenda  pulling out partial facts to try to
> make
> > his point.  
> >
>
> I was gonna say something but you beat me too it,
> Duna and View are the only 2 Anti Rail people who
> seems to try to put facts to prove their points
> and each time they get shot down, and they're too
> stubborn to admit it!

I do not see them as "anti-rail", they just are not the "rah rah rah trains are awesome!!!" type.  They therefore post information that upsets many of you, as it does not portray the "passenger trains are the best" view you espouse.  I find it rather entertaining to see the same people get up in arms every time Duna or Another_VIew post something, I reckon objectivity has no room here.

I love train travel, and I wish it would expand.  But if the majority of the country felt that way there would be an uproar to fully fund, and expand, passenger trains everywhere.  As it is, aside from rail-oriented discussions, train travel isn't even a blip on the screen.  There are so many factors to consider when it comes to use of public transportation, anyone can cherry pick info to support their side.  As more and more businesses go to "work from home" options, there is less need to commute whether it be by commuter rail, bus, rideshare, or sitting in a traffic jam in your car.  One can twist the numbers any way they wish, but that fact will remain.   That does not mean to do away with commuter rail, or stop making highway improvements, just that conditions are always changing.



Date: 08/15/19 01:06
Re: Transit Ridership Falls Another 2.9 Percent in June
Author: coach

METROLINK in Los Angeles just reported record ridership on their commuter / heavy rail lines.  So, consider that while reading this perhaps "fake" news...



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