A comment I just left at Capital MetroBlog’s entry full of people insisting that the train is successful now or will succeed soon:
So it turns out Capital Metro isn’t going to wait any longer for us to “clap louder or Tinkerbell will die”; in the January service change, they will cancel many 984 and 986 bus runs in order to attempt to boost MetroRail ridership.
Some of those people currently riding those far superior express buses will switch; some will go back to driving.
The key here is that when you build a GOOD rail line, most people switch from redundant bus lines willingly – because the train is better than the bus. Only awful trains require you to force-march passengers away from what they choose to ride; and this only works for captive riders, and only for a while.
Once again, M1EK was right – and those of you defending Capital Metro were wrong.
Capital Metro is about to learn the difference between “captive rider” and “choice commuter” (and the rest of us are going to learn how many of each comprised the ridership of these express bus routes).
So yesterday, I saw a couple of self-congratulatory tweets about the upcoming service changes (on Sunday) which start the process of eliminating service to large parts of central west Austin. This was particularly interesting given that I had just added information to our rental property’s MLS listing about “distance to MetroBus” (the #9, at least until Sunday, has a stop about 100 feet away). So here’s what I tweeted in response:
(some short background on the taxes and Red Line issue here)
Shortly thereafter, it was retweeted by another user. Capital Metro PR guy JMVC responded (to that user, not me) that the service change resulted in increased service, and that “you should take what he says with a grain of salt”. I had planned to just link to this tweet but since yesterday I’ve been blocked (JMVC has been non-public tweeting for a long time; although he certainly shares his opinions with most of the local decision-makers despite not being willing to be similarly available to the public). Here’s the image:
So let’s examine in detail. My tweet:
So on a couple of forums I frequent, Cap Metro employees and hangers-on have been trying a new talking point – that they never expected 1700-2000 boardings/day anytime soon on the Red Line. This only requires a very short and obvious rebuttal.
The July 2010 performance report includes the picture below. (Capital Metro has suddenly decided to switch to only reporting rail numbers every two months, by the way).
Any questions? (Click to enlarge).