Nearly Half of Expo Line Riders Came From Cars
Metro released survey findings of riders on the new Expo Line phase serving Santa Monica – and found that nearly half ditched their cars for the train:
More than two-thirds of riders on the recently opened Expo Line Phase II to Santa Monica are new to the train line and more than 40 percent of them switched to transit from driving alone, according to a survey released this week by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority….
Metro surveyed about 1,000 riders at the Expo Line’s seven new stations and found 70 percent of them were new to the Expo Line. Of the new riders, nearly half used to drive alone while 23 percent had switched from bus service.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone, unless it’s news to you that people despise traffic on the 10 with an undying passion. But this is also similar to what happened in Spain when the AVE high speed rail line first opened. Many of its passengers switched from driving as well.
Opponents of rail projects underestimate how much people hate sitting in traffic. When they’re given a better option – one that is fast and convenient – they’ll take it. The Expo Line is now so popular that there aren’t enough trainsets to meet demand.
As someone who has driven on Interstate 5 between SF and LA more times than I can count, including sitting in traffic in the middle of the Central Valley that was so bad that it took nearly 9 hours to complete the trip, I can say with certainty that there will be huge demand for a train that can make that trip in half the usual travel time.
If you build it, they will ride.