I always found the ridership numbers to be suspect - at least 50% of daily my rush hour trips home from Ashmont has the guy not collecting fairs/taps, and the 50% of the time he does, half the people board from the rear door anyway. And we are talking about the trolley being jam packed any time during rush hour.
Ridership numbers come from tabulators (people counting passengers boarding and alighting), not from the farebox. They might be watching multiple trips at a single stop or riding a vehicle watching every stop. A tabulator's data sample is assumed to be typical and totals are generated based on that. It's surprising what can be concluded from this method.
The revenue bean counting serves as evidence that folks are failing to grasp the function of the line specifically and the Authority in its entirety. Naturally, increasing the farebox recovery ratio is beneficial, but it is not the first nor the second (nor third for that matter) priority of those designing and implementing the service. The high speed line does not operate to turn a profit, nor could it, nor should it. It serves as the only mode of travel into the metropolis which is deemed acceptable by its ridership, and it keeps ridership numbers up on a busier line that would serve fewer people and thus be less economical should it no longer exist. The agency's priorities are to 1.) move the people 1A.) safely and 1B.) in a timely manner, 2.) collect revenue to help pay for it. When 1 and 2 prove mutually exclusive, #1 takes precedence.
Moderator: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Avatar:3679A (since wrecked)/3623B (now in service as 3636B).