The numbers are in from Capital Metro’s first full month of service, and they confirm what many people have suspected already: that ridership is not what it should be. Recently released figures reflect an average of 900 passengers per day. That figure is well below what the transit agency would like to see.
On Thursday’s 3:45pm train from Austin to Leander, seats were empty. Passenger Jason Keyes said they had been fuller when the service started back in March. "Usually when a train leaves the downtown station, about fifty percent of the seats are open,” Keyes said. In all Capital Metro reported 19,800 boardings in the month of April, which generated a little more than $58,000 in revenue. The agency counts “boardings,” and not people.
That means a person who goes back and forth in a single day gets counted as two boardings. Since the service does not yet run on weekends or even throughout the day, spokesman Adam Shaivitz believes it is still too early to place much weight on the numbers.
"We really need to take a look at a longer period of time before you can see ridership patterns established,” Shaivitz said. He said the goal is 1700 boardings a day by early next year. In the meantime, Capital Metro is also seeing a strong on-time record. Trains are reportedly running within three minutes of their scheduled time.