Sunday, April 22, 2012

Aberration or trend?

Looking at data for the Port Authority as reported to APTA, if you look at year over year changes in ridership, the most recent data for February 2012 an interesting factoid pops up. 

Adding together all modes, the year over year increase in ridership at the Port Authority is the biggest such increase over the last decade with the exception of one period: the year over year increase between September 2007 and September 2008.  My memory can't recall what might have been causing a pop in ridership back then, but maybe it was all the volunteers in town for the presidential campaigns?  That is less than a guess even, just the only thing that came to mind.

Anyway, it still is a pretty negative trend in the long run, but this is what it looks like plotting out the year over year changes for every month. I didnt appreciate how well they were doing ridership-wise between 2004 and 2006, a period when Allegheny County was clearly losing population at a pretty steady clip. 


Anonymous MH said...

The PA finally listened to me about the need for a better Oakland to Squirrel Hill connection and the riders appeared.

Sunday, April 22, 2012 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I believe PAT instituted a large service cut in June of 2007 (about 15%) then a fare increase at the beginning of 2008. That would explain all the red for the year through approximately June of 2008--in later 2008 you are now looking at recovery from that schedule-shock a year earlier.

The in 2009 I suspect you are seeing the recession finally hitting Pittsburgh. You've got the TSP service changes starting in March 2010--the hope was those would lead to increased ridership in the long run, but a transition period was expected.

Then you have a brief window of recovery in early 2011 followed by the latest red period kicked off by the March 2011 service cuts, another 15%.

Finally that brings us to the recent increases, which hard to explain on just a bounce-back theory from the March 2011 cut, since they started too early. I suspect what we may be seeing is that service cut story layered on top of the strong recovery and in fact record employment levels.

Sunday, April 22, 2012 11:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw a study that said youth public transit is at an all time the city gets younger I think ridership will continue to increase...

Monday, April 23, 2012 6:50:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Yeah, if you recall that the young adult population in the City has been exploding, then take into account rising gas prices and general mode trends (e.g., young people these days are increasingly unlikely to drive), it makes sense that absent service cuts or recessions, PAT should be seeing ridership increases.

Note Chris thinks that young adult boom is mostly students (I think it is more of a mix), but of course students are as likely if not more likely to ride PAT as any other young adults. So this is one of the many issues for which you should not treat student population growth as a nullity.

Monday, April 23, 2012 7:17:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

I don't think you can ignore the weather. I can't find a good link to the data at the city level, but I don't think I'm going to cause too much controversy by arguing that January and February 2012 were much more pleasant times to be out of doors than January and February 2011.

(I still think I’m right about how adding the 61D-Greeenfield only has been a big boost.)

Monday, April 23, 2012 8:51:00 AM  

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