Passenger Counting 101

You might have noticed our recent press release in which we announced our highest ever single day of ridership. With over 50,000 rides in one day, February 1st was a record breaking day for PSTA, and January 2013 saw  86,090 more boardings than January 2012, making for 15 months in a row of record ridership. But how do we count those passengers you ask?

Photo Credit: Brandon Jeffrey

Photo Credit: Brandon Jeffrey

Here, let me explain: Every time a passenger boards a bus and either puts money in the farebox, or swipes a GO Card, they’re counted. That’s it!

This method of counting rides is an industry standard, and is part of our federally mandated reporting to the National Transit Database. Sure, there will be occasions where someone boards the wrong bus, swipes their GO Card, then realizes they’re on the wrong bus and they exit. But that number is very small in the grand total of boardings in our system.

It’s also worth noting that we have not made any significant changes to our bus service since ridership started its huge upward climb. In fact, the combination of the Route 35 into the Central Avenue Trolley reduced the number of buses one would need to take to make that trip across Central. (Before, when you rode the 35 you were counted once, and when you boarded the CAT you were counted again, making for 2 boardings on that one trip. Now that the same trip doesn’t require a bus change you’re counted once.)

So, it’s a very straightforward calculation, you’re boarding in record numbers, and we appreciate every single one of you!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post in which we explain how much of our operating costs are covered by bus fares, and how we stack up in that regard as compared to other transit systems…

Your Editor,
Cyndi Raskin-Schmitt
Manager of Communications



Filed under Behind the Scenes, Transit Data

2 responses to “Passenger Counting 101

  1. John Royse

    YEs charts can be confusing but kudos to PSTA for attempting to show us just how many riders each route has in an evident attempt to combat the “empty bus myth”.

  2. John Royse

    Note the term “ridership” not riders. Since most Poole will make a RT you can divide by 2 to get the number of RIDERS and when you figure in transfers to another bus maybe even divide by 3. However business is still at a record high. Gas prices and population increase account for some of this.

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