I’m Just Now Catching up to Al’s April 2014 Video of Me…

I’m sitting here digging through videos on YouTube and here’s this video Al took a while back. I’m not entirely sure who did the edits, but I have a few minor contention points. Here’s the video first:

Is the MAX dangerous based on un-correlated and non-causal crime?

Minute:Second 2:28 – 2:50 – I’m seriously not even going to respond to this insertion of media alarmism and FUD in the middle of this clip. That is a seriously disingenuous association, it is dishonest to even associate that with failure or success in any way. Pulling in outlier data, and pushing and implication that the MAX is a crime train or something of that nature is just extremely cheap and petty. So it’s not even getting an answer from me… just bring data next time and stop being disingenuous. I can argue this but it’s just ridiculous that this is even inserted in there, it’s at best a distraction to simpletons that will then immediately say something ignorant like, “see, it’s a failure there’s some stabbing…”

Is MAX Ridership Not 100k (or more) ?

Minute:Second 2:57 – There’s a flash of some stats from an unspecified time that are supposedly Trimet’s ridership numbers. I’d stated that Trimet ridership on the MAX was 100k or more per day, which was a conservative estimate on my behalf. The data that was shown however was not accurate. Check out the actual PDF of performance information from Trimet itself. Now scroll down to the ridership data for April of 2014 which is the post time of this video (and relatively close +1 a month or so when Al and I actually met and had this conversation). The data for April 2014 is shown below:

Note the MAX Ridership for April 14 is at 121,400. A mere 1.1% decrease over the same month in 2013.

Note the MAX Ridership for April 14 is at 121,400. A mere 1.1% decrease over the same month in 2013.

As you can see, I was being extremely generous in saying the MAX carries merely 100k passenger trips a day, when in reality it registered over 121k that month.

Answer: Yes, I was correct in stating that the ridership is at least that much. It’s the opposite of hyperbole, it’s a conservative estimate, which makes the implication I was making absolutely true.

Is bus ridership barely 3 times what MAX ridership is even with 50 or so bus lines as I said in the video?

The ridership for Trimet bus lines, all of them (not including the paratransit, which is only 21k trips) comes in for the month of April at 335,030 passenger trips. That’s some pretty good ridership.

Bus Ridership at Trimet

Bus Ridership at Trimet

but if we do some math, if Trimet MAX’s ridership is 121k, and we multiply that by x3, we get 363k, clearly more than the 335k trips that were registered.

Answer: Yes, again, my statement was a simple conservative statement that again proves the point that the MAX, by line count, carries dramatically more people than the entire bus system put together. I made no other correlations than that, so no I’m not saying one could exist without the other, or any such thing. I merely stated one point.

So are there only 50 bus lines in Trimet’s System?

Well I did a little manual count (maybe I’m off by +-1?) but I got 80 bus lines on Trimet’s page here. Feel free to count. But agian, a conservative guess at the number of bus lines (and yeah, I should know the number of bus lines by now, but I only knew a very rough low balled amount). This makes the point even more direct to the point I’m making, in that the bus system has 80 bus lines and ONLY carries 3x as much as the MAX.

Answer: Yes, there are at LEAST 50 bus lines, after counting them there are 80.

So is MAX a failure by this measure? Is it truly ridiculous?

The MAX, based on this number of lines, carrying 25% of the passenger trips but only making up 1/20th of the actual lines is by no measure a failure. Looking at that same data for April we can even find more evidence that the MAX lines are doing fine, with a cost per passenger trip at $2.02 while the bus is at $3.27.

Answer: MAX is in no discernable way a failure based on metrics of subsidies and rates of usage for buses. One could make strong arguments that it even does even better against other Trimet modes too (re: Streetcar, WES).

Is MAX Blue Line the only successful line?

Minute:Second 3:26 – Is the Blue Line the only successful line? Study the data more. None of the MAX lines are operationally expensive compared to any bus lines. Even the most efficient bus lines (like the 72, 9, 4, 14, etc) do only slightly better than the Yellow Line and sometimes better than the Green or Red Lines. Most of the time they’re all extremely efficient in cost per passenger trip.

Answer: No, they’re all successful by the metrics available, even the dramatically lower ridership Yellow Line.

Is the Skytrain the only unquestionably successful transit in North America?

Answer: Yes, go look it up, I’m not digging that up for you. But it turns an actually net operational profit, which means that it makes more money from fares during operations than it takes to actually run the trains. That money, is then in turn used to subsidize the less efficient bus service throughout the city that costs more to run per passenger trip.

…then during 4:20- some time Al wants to now say that none of this matter that transit is a human right or something, but when we compare things we have to have a metric. Nobody said anything about what transit modern purpose is, we’re comparing what is success or failure, and actual metrics.

Green Line stole ridership, is it between 22-28k per day?

Minute:Second 4:44 – Current Green Line ridership passenger trips is 24,300 at last count.

Answer 1: Yup, the ridership is at the levels I stated.

Answer 2: It did not steal ridership from the bus routes. Every route that the Green Line crosses that travels east and west (this include sthe #4, 9, 14, 15, and a number of other buses) all have seen ridership increases during the time since the Green Line opened. The #72, which runs parallel and crosses under the Green Line has also seen its ridership maintained or increased over that same period, month-to-month and by any other metric. The data is available, to get some of the specifics you will have to get a FOIA for Trimet to dig it up, but the data is there, just from the totals that are provided on the site (just look at the link above and check out the ridership for bus/MAX) and you’ll see that overall the ridership has generally seen an upward trend since the Green Line opened in 2009 versus a downward trend.

 

…this blog entry is dedicated to Al. Cheers man! It’s always fun.

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2 Comments

  1. What you forgot here is that probably 1/2 the MAX ridership comes directly from the bus ridership.

    BEFORE THERE WAS MAX THERE WAS BUS.

    And Trimet is bucking the national trends on ridership, Trimet is losing or staying flat while the rest of the country is flocking to transit.

    How do you answer that?

    Reply

    1. I made a comment regarding all of that. What you stated “What you forgot here is that probably 1/2 the MAX ridership comes directly from the bus ridership.” does NOT effect what I wrote. The fact is still that MAX carries X trips and buses carry Y trips. They are metrics for the same type of boarding, it does not matter where they came from because they’re measuring one thing.

      Also, the trends of a decrease are not definite, they’ve been inconsistent at best. Saying ridership has flatlined is something that could almost be argued, but there’s more to that story. Making a sweeping generalization based on very specific pieces of data without looking at general systemic data doesn’t prove that. You gotta stop cherry picking one or two months and acting like that shows the entire trend for the entire system. It simply does not.

      At some point, maybe we’ll be able to look back and say that this was the beginning of a massive flatlining of ridership. But we’re only +- 3 years of determining any trend, and based on a +-3 year measurement, ridership hasn’t done anything significant to point to an ongoing flatlining. If anything it has almost perfectly matched the trailing trend of the economy, which is to say what was expected.

      Reply

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