Is this right?
From Ben Wear's Monday column on the Red Line's abysmal ridership:
779 boardings probably represents somewhere around 400 people a day using a train line that cost something well above $120 million to build and will cost more than $8 million a year to operate.
Readers are welcome to check my math, but that works out to an 8% farebox recovery ratio. And that's generous: I'm assuming 800 boardings per day, five days per week, 52 weeks per year. That's just $620,000 per year in revenue. Revenue really will be lower than that since many riders buy discounted monthly passes, some riders (the elderly and disabled) pay nothing at all, and ridership will be lower in weeks with a holiday. But generously assuming $625,000/year in revenue, the ratio of revenue from fares to the $8 million operating cost is just 8%.
That's worse than Cap Metro's ridiculously low farebox recovery ratio for bus service, which was 9% in 2007. By contrast, according to Wikipedia, Atlanta's MARTA had a farebox recovery ration of 31.8% in 2007. Dallas had a farebox recovery ratio of 28.4% in 2008. Orlando, 26% in 2008. Austin's is so low in part because it heavily (excessively) subsidizes transit for the disabled, but that's beside the point. The bottom line is that the Red Line is lowering one of the lowest farebox recovery ratios in the country.
And yes, M1EK, I realize I'm late to this dance.