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Late-Night Subway Service was a 'Great Success,' Councilman Says

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Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents parts of downtown, called last Holiday season's pilot program that extended the Metro Red Line to 3 a.m. a great success, saying that the program performed well despite little lead time on marketing and outreach. "[It] illustrates great demand and interest in late night transit for our City," he wrote in a letter (.pdf) to the city's Transportation Committee." He cites the following example:

  • Metro's ridership in the last three trips of regular Friday service averages 543 people from 11:37-12:17am.
  • The Red Line Holiday pilot performed 70% as well from 12:37-1:17am on the Friday it was studied, drawing 383 riders.
  • Other comparisons of ridership during the regular last three trips of Metro service, compared to the first three trips of the pilot program show the pilot performed at least 45% as well as Metro's regular last hours service during each study window.

Huizar goes on saying the analysis of ridership numbers and money made from the farebox were difficult to determine. "As predicted, pilot program fare box revenue, as captured for single, one-way tickets during the program hours, was low," Huizar noted. "However it should be noted round trip and single ticket transactions related to the pilot program but occurring before pilot hours were not included in the computation, nor were daily or weekly passes purchased because riders were able to access late night transit."
By summer, gates will be installed in the subway system along with a full implementation of TAP Cards. With those two additions, evaluation of future pilot programs and service in general will be more accurate and should prove where service is needed.