Limited Lead Led to Low Ridership for Late Night Red Line and DASH

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Yesterday, LAist reported, based on an LADOT report, that roughly 1,000 people a night rode the Red Line during the expanded late night hours of the holiday season.  The report admitted that because the plan had been adopted so late in the year, that there was insufficient lead time to market the program.  Remember, the late night service was funded privately, so if we want to see the service again we have to convince them that the service can be even better in 2009.

A report on how late night DASH service was received was more dire.  The DASH Service ran for only 13 nights and attracted 1,847 people boarding the service, an average of 142 per night, or 5.4 boardings per bus per hour.  However, the time to promote the service was even more limited than for late nights on the Red Line, funding was secured a week before the program launched.  For example, LA Live, which needs several weeks lead time didn’t even run an ad for the service.

The future of late night Red Line and DASH service may be uncertain for now, but we can be certain that the quicker funding is found for the next holiday season, the more people will use the service.  I’m certain that Blogdowntown, which not only covered the late night service but helped bring about its funding, will have details on what we can do to make sure the service comes back.  In the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

Photo: Fire Monkey Fish/Flickr

  • John

    The late night service really needs to operate, not just during the Holiday Season, but during the rest of the year, as well. If L.A. is supposed to be a “World Class City”, then we need late night service, at least on Friday and Saturday Nights when most people are out and about. But we also need late night Metrolink service so that people can come into L.A., have a good time and still be able to get home without having to worry about leaving early or having to drive and fight traffic. If L.A. really wants to be known as a green city, a world class city, then we need late night transportation services to support that vision.

  • Wad

    This may also show that night service is a poor target market for transit expansion.

    The Red Line, with an abundance of destinations (NoHo, Universal City, Hollywood and downtown L.A.), still only attracted 1,000 boardings. Metro would cancel a bus line that had 1,000 boardings in the daytime.

    We could test this hypothesis by doing trial runs of night service at other times of the year, or at the same time but having 7-night-a-week service.

    If ridership still does not nudge, then it is not worth night service. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Right now, Metro uses the downtime to keep the system maintained so the service is more reliable (all trains have 98%+ on-time rates) for when the service is in high demand.

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