Metro ridership decline is in the millions

posted by iHeartMedia’s Cliff Saunders -

We told you last month that there were less people riding public transportation in Houston. And, when you consider the money going into that system, you might wonder if the whole thing is just a waste of time.

Metro has invested more than 2 billion dollars in light rail, but ridership is down from 89 million trips in 2001 to 76 million last year. City Council member Michael Kubosh told KTRH why officials keep pushing this on us.

“They are trying to model Houston after Northern and European cities, where you can’t find places to park,” Kubosh said.

Then there is the project on Post Oak, where they are adding lanes for buses. Kubosh says it's killing local business.

“Businesses have been impacted pretty badly. A lot of them have gone out of business,” Kubosh explained.

Metro tells KTRH that project is not a Metro project, but a project of the Uptown Management District, which will be completed next year.

As for the loss of ridership, in a statement, Metro blames it on the restructuring of fares and the downturn in the economy ten years ago.

“METRO’s ridership took a major hit in 2008 when the fares were restructured, including a 25% increase in the base fare. The downturn in the economy also caused ridership to drop. Over the last several years ridership has been steadily increasing, particularly following the redesign of our local bus network in 2015. As for rail ridership, the Red Line is one of the highest performing light-rail lines in the country. It is also a key factor in luring big events to town like the NCAA Final Four and the Super Bowl. The Harris County Appraisal District just last year reported to the METRO Board significant increases in property values along the rail lines over the past few years.”

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