Santa Barbara MTD Bus Ridership Continues to Drop–Statewide Trend

Government transportation system are getting more expensive to the taxpayer, the non-riders—and fewer riders that want the inconvenience of government telling them where and when they can travel—and unions that might not allow the trains and buses to go.

“According to the transit agency’s annual report, ridership dropped 6.7 percent in fiscal year 2017, compared to the year prior. Stretching back to 2013, ridership has fallen 17.3 percent.

Total fare annual revenue is down 10.1 percent since 2013, to $7.26 million, and MTD is considering a variety of options to boost ridership or raise revenues.”

Instead of fixing streets and making it easier for residents to get around town, government crowds the streets with empty buses—in Simi Valley, except when school is in session in the morning and afternoon, the buses—LARGE BUSES—are nearly or completely empty.  Everywhere ridership is down—in L.A. they spent several billions to expand the train system, and that ridership is down.  Time to end the corruption of government transportation—what do you think?

Money

Santa Barbara MTD Bus Ridership Continues to Drop

Agency introduces real-time bus arrival tracking as annual report shows significant decrease in bus passengers since 2013

By Joshua Molina, Noozehawk, 8/29/17

The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District is struggling to rebound from a significant drop in ridership in recent years.

According to the transit agency’s annual report, ridership dropped 6.7 percent in fiscal year 2017, compared to the year prior. Stretching back to 2013, ridership has fallen 17.3 percent.

Total fare annual revenue is down 10.1 percent since 2013, to $7.26 million, and MTD is considering a variety of options to boost ridership or raise revenues.

The most recent fare increase was in 2009.

“The possibility of an increase has been mentioned, but no formal recommendations are planned at this point,” said Hillary Blackerby, MTD’s marketing manager.

MTD also recently launched a BusTracker app, texting and website with real-time bus arrivals and information, in a move that officials, hope “will continue making the system more accessible and more convenient for riders.”

MTD blames the ridership drop on the economic downtown in 2008 and the subsequent rise in gas prices.

During that period more people were turning to transit, according to its ridership report, “perhaps to save money.” Since the economy began to turn around in 2012, however, ridership has declined.

“Lower fuel prices and more easily attainable car loans may have induced some people to return to driving,” the report says. “Rising housing prices and the extremely tight rental market may also be prompting some lower- and middle-income people to move out of the region.”

Increased traffic congestion, declining enrollment at Santa Barbara City College and the international language schools, stricter national immigration policies, and the implementation of legislation allowing undocumented residents to obtain California driver licenses, might also be contributing to the ridership declines, according to MTD.

Traffic congestion may be the agency’s biggest problem going forward.

“As traffic congestion continues to worsen on the South Coast, more revenue hours will be needed to maintain current service levels,” the report states.

“Otherwise, service may need to be reduced in order to maintain a balanced budget. Without an increase in ridership, MTD passengers per hour and other performance metrics will decline.”

Blackerby said MTD has recently implemented schedule adjustments as traffic congestion in the region has increased.

“We are dedicated to improving reliability and efficiency, and are also working on future improvements for the way riders pay for their fares — through smartcard technology and mobile fare payment,” Blackerby said.

One area of ridership growth for MTD has been in serving UC Santa Barbara students.

UCSB and SBCC student ridership made up about 32 percent of MTD’s total ridership in fiscal year 2017.

UCSB ridership jumped from 978,887 in fiscal year 2013 to 1.3 million in fiscal year 2017. By contrast, City College ridership dropped from 1,183 million in 2013 to 704,977 in 2917.

MTD notes that transit ridership is down across the nation.

“Even though MTD has experienced several years of ridership decline, MTD still outperforms almost every other transit agency in the State of California,” Blackerby said.

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