Tuesday, August 04, 2009

BART ridership drops

SF Chronicle reports that BART blames the recession for the 9% drop in ridership from May to June.

The recession and layoffs definitely had something to do with it but summer schedules, lighter summer traffic, vacations, and increased fares all likely led to the decline in ridership as well.

It's nice to actually get parking space and a seat now. Don't fret, BART, ridership will pick up in late-August and be back to normal in September. I'm not looking forward to crowded, standing room only trains but that's just reality. For now, I'll enjoy the lighter trains and having the option to drive occasionally to SF with the breezier traffic.


Anonymous said...

When I find a seat on BART during commute hours (I live in West Oakland and use that station), I'm always amazed. I have a friend who commutes on the ICE Mannheim-Frankfurt each day (he works for Deutsche Bahn). When I've commuted with him, the commute trains have been packed with people--every seat, sitting in the aisles, and standing at the end of each car.

I think about that commute because it's about 50 miles and takes 37-51 minutes, depending on train. It costs 25.50 Euros ($36.16), although most German commuters would have purchased a Bahn card for 225 Euros allowing them to get it for half-price.

In comparison, a 50-mile trip on BART--say, from Pittsburg/Bay Point to South San Francisco--costs $6.50 and takes about 80 minutes.

BART is 18% the cost of Die Bahn (or a bit less than 35% with a Bahn 50 card), and takes about half again to more than twice as long. Other differences are that you can't eat and there's no restaurant, cafe car, or refreshment cart on BART. On both, you are standing (at least without a reservation, which is possible on Die Bahn for an additional 2-3 euros).

However, I bet we could get many of those things if we were willing to pony up 36-72 cents/mile instead of about 13-17 cents/mile on BART (of course this is substantially more for one-station trips). Until then, I'll be standing near the door.

Anonymous said...

Germans get paid a hell of a lot more than Americans do, and also don't have to pay for many of the things we do here in the USA. College being one of the really big ones.

You can't fairly compare the costs & quality of the ICE transit system to one here in the USA when their economy is so different from ours.

Anonymous said...

The comment appears to have missed the point of the first post. Namely, Germans as a group have decided to pay significantly more money (both in taxes and fares) for what is better service. At the same time, they experience many of the same issues as we do on BART.

Germans get paid more than Americans? That might be true for certain, largely blue-collar, professions, given Germany's much higher rate of unionization and stronger worker rights. But then one would need to consider issues like the significantly more expensive tax structure in Germany (e.g., leading to much less take-home pay, but also the much better rail system), and also whether any difference in pay is on the order of 3 times as much--the same relative difference as for rail fares. The idea that economic differences preclude any sort of discussion comparing the systems is wrongheaded at best.