September 3, 2009

Jessica Discusses Ridership and Service Changes

Return to Blog

There’s a very nice article out today in the St. Louis Beacon that features Metro’s Jessica Mefford-Miller, our new Chief Planner, discussing the August 3 service changes. She discusses ridership numbers, the new routes, and funding issues, making several interesting points:

  • The Planning Department tries to collect more than one month of ridership data before considering it “solid” data; she said information from one quarter, or three months, is better;
  • Ridership may be light on some of the restored routes because there is an “expiration date” on the restored service since the funding for these routes came via one-time stimulus grants or emergency funding;
  • Some of the service changes involved new routes, which do not have a market constituency built-in the way that the old “restored” routes did, and it takes a long time to build ridership.

The article also mentioned that Metro is “tweaking” fall schedules, making adjustments based on actual operations for the past month. According to Jessica, the changes are minor and will be invisible to most customers.

Metro Lifestyle

5 thoughts on “Jessica Discusses Ridership and Service Changes”

  1. bikesRbest says:

    Tweaking a failed product is meaningless. People have given up on relying on Metro and many of the important routes are inefficient. Most of the buses I now see have only one passenger, the on-the-payroll driver.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m sorry you feel that way, I’m sure the people who depend on Metro every day would disagree. Do you have any specific thoughts on inefficiencies? We frequently adjust routes in response to customer feedback, so let us know what you think could be improved.

  3. Jimmy Z says:

    I agree that having an “expiration date” is a real problem. Look at it from a rider’s standpoint. First, you leave them high and dry and they have to figure out how to live without Metro. Then, you come back, but only for a few months, and you expect most former riders, and even some new ones, to embrace an ephemeral option. For probably too many, it’s probably a case now of “Why bother?”

    There are five things that drive people to public transit: low cost, predictability, frequency, quick(er) travel compared to driving alone, and/or the cost of parking, and “temporarily restored” does nothing to instill much confidence. I’m assuming this was done to justify asking for a tax increase, but I’m afraid that it’s having the opposite effect. No bus stop is truly permamnent, and Metro would’ve been better served just by taking off the original “eliminated” covers.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Good points, Jimmy. In part I think this is a “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” situation, because if we didn’t tell people about the funding expiration on the restored/newly implemented service just to increase ridership, we’d be (rightly) accused of not giving people all the information. We chose to err on the side of giving customers all of the information and letting them decide how to respond.

  5. Jimmy Z says:

    TMI can sometimes be a bad thing. I would expect Metro to look at all their routes the next time around, just like they did this time, should significant cuts be required, again. It just seems like “Temporarily Restored” is setting these routes up for failure, compared to the ones without this stigma.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact to Listing Owner

Captcha Code