Mid-year Ridership Update

October 13th, 2013

It’s October now, eight months since I first touched on annual ridership figures and it’s about time for a little update. I only have recent numbers from SORTA at the moment (and here they are) so that’s all I’ll be able to touch on for now. Overall, ridership is holding steady, fluctuating down a bit this year:

2013 cincinnati transit ridership chart

The total number of rides in 2013 is down 3.6% from the same period in 2012.(beginning of January through the end of September). If this continues to the end of the year, we’ll be about where we were in 2011, with the lowest annual ridership we’ve seen since the National Transit Database started tracking these things in 1991:  about 16.8 million unlinked trips.1

The slight decrease doesn’t seem to be related to the service changes that took place in August; The month prior to the changes (July) shows a total decrease of 4% YTD so if anything, things have been on the upswing since the shift.

A few random interesting numbers:

The M+ has made 34,791 unlinked trips2 between it’s start in mid August and the end of September. In September the M+ made 4.2 times as many trips as the #1, which was itself down 48% from the previous year due to route changes that significantly shortened it.

The #51, with significant route changes, saw a 38% increase to 44,000 trips from Sept 2012 to Sept 2013. The #41 which was similarly extended further across the city did not see significant change (-0.3%) for the same period.

SORTA was unable to provide data at the stop level.

Show 2 footnotes

  1. This is likely also the lowest ridership has been since it was still on it’s way up in the early 19th century, though I can’t say that with complete certainty.
  2. An ‘unlinked trip’ is the basic unit of measure used here and pretty much everywhere else. It is one person getting on a bus once and getting off somewhere else. Most of what actual people call ‘trips’ will consist of two or more ‘unlinked trips’: The trip there and the trip back and any transfers in between. The ‘link’ in ‘unlinked’ refers to that joining of two or more discrete data points.

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