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The Ridership vs Coverage Problem Commentators sometimes criticize transit authorities for low ridership, as though transit were a failing business.
But transit authorities are rarely directed to maximize ridership as their primary goal, so they’re not failing if they don’t.
Frequency Matters First, you really must understand transit frequency.
It’s the elapsed time between consecutive buses (or trains, or ferries) on a line, which determines the maximum waiting time.
It’s long, but there are handy section dividers along the way, and pictures near the end. Unlike governments, businesses feel no obligation to provide their service in places where they would spend a lot of money to serve very few people.If that were your situation, your biggest transportation problem would not be traffic congestion, or how fast you can go on the freeway; it would be how to get this frigging gate to open more often.That’s how low frequency feels to a potential transit customer, and why frequency often swamps other factors, like speed, in determining whether transit is actually useful.This can be fine, though, so long as everyone understands that ridership is not the goal.So you will not begin to make clear transit choices until you are clear, at every moment, about whether you , you need to tell transit agencies to think like businesses, which means deploying the service not where people feel entitled to it, or where they need it badly, but where the maximum ridership will result.