ne plus ultra wrote:By the way, the spring Star newsletter shows that monthly average ridership peaked in July and August at nearly 900. However, 2009 figures are nearly identical to 2008 for the first three months.
That's probably a little better than would be expected, because ridership often goes down in a recession. But the Star definitely didn't hold onto everyone it attracted in summer 2008. In fact, the graph as a whole is quite flat -- monthly averages in 2006 were between 500 and 560. By summer '07, they had already plateaued at a little over 600, and setting aside last summer's gas-related increase, they remain there.
At this point, the only things that I could see making a major difference would be transit-oriented development at one spot or another -- either a new company moving near the downtown station, or a major new residential development at one of the suburban stations. Another evening run would help, since it's difficult to commit to an option that won't allow you to leave work later than 5:30. Maybe a 7:30 run that carried people working late and some who grabbed a relatively quick dinner or drink after work. But no doubt that's pretty expensive.
I suspect the 900 figure for the summer includes the high price of gas at the time. Prices peaked at $4.00. We did have a week after the hurricanes of product shortage. Our gas comes up the pipe from Birmingham. Atlanta is on the same pipe.
The Friday evening train allows one to linger downtown on Broadway & other venues before going home.
Growth from here on is going to be tough. It does help some to have one agency handle the bus/rail transfer.
BTW the stimulus bill may have $3.5mil to rebuild a F40 & some more money to rebuild/paint some gallery cars.
In order to run more trains, some sidings would need to be built/rebuilt to permit meets on the single track line.
The new Martha station has been needed for some time but was delayed due to TDOT roadwork. The MCS operates on about a mile of "new" track here with a new rail bridge over US70.
I see nothing new about the Friday Nite Train. This may be an effort by a newbie reporter. With the 3rd of July coming up, we'll see how the MCS handles this year's Fireworks Train. I bet they will run a special due to legal Friday holiday.