As we have been discussing Greenlight with the public over the past months, we have had lots of opportunities to talk about our ridership numbers. This has been a great opportunity for us at PSTA (a.k.a. public transit geeks) to talk about the science of how we plan and manage our routes.
The chart below was developed through our Community Bus Plan and it simply illustrates total ridership by route:
The danger here is that this one chart doesn’t tell the whole story or really give you the full formula of how we manage routes, it simply shows ridership on routes- not the frequency of those routes. For an example, look a the 98 (yellow). This chart makes it look no one is riding it; but, this route only runs five times a day and is a popular commuter route.
To really understand this you need to look at this second chart:
This chart is a true measure of transit success. It shows the number of people boarding PSTA buses while they are in service. Now look at the 60, 14, 78 & 67 – they’re four of the top producing routes in the entire PSTA system, even though the first chart makes it seem like they’re not. And, the 98 may only run 5 times a day, but there are a lot of people getting on and off those buses. Just like many others in the system, it’s a very productive route.
So, when one has all of the data, it’s easy to see that most PSTA routes perform quite well. Like any system, there are routes with lower ridership – these are the routes that feed riders into the corridors where the higher ridership routes are running. Think of it like your neighborhood street feeding into a main street, which feeds into the major roadways in our county – they all work together as a system, just like PSTA’s bus routes.