Skeptics (like myself) of the Orange Line
's ability to pull the non-transit dependent out of their cars and onto busses might want to clear room at the table for a steaming helping of crow: surveys indicate
that 17% of the new line's riders had never utilized Metro until now.
Of course, we've seen new transit lines start strong and then fade once the novelty wears off (Gold Line, anyone?
Anyone?), but the survey also indicates that 85% of Orange Line riders say their commute takes less time than before.
That bodes well for future ridership, as long as the 15% whose ride is not
shorter does not significantly overlap with the 17% of riders newly divorced from their cars. If it does, it won't be long before those folks return to their cars, expensive gas and atrocious traffic notwithstanding.
It might also be worth noting (as the Daily News
piece does) that the cohort of new Orange Line riders represents a very modest reduction in traffic on the overloaded 101: 1000 to 1500 of the 300,000 cars that traverse the Valley floor each day. According to my abacus, that's a mere .5% fewer cars on the road. Still, it's a start.