(from Flick user peterskim)
When the cuts were initially announced, I predicted that ridership would fall off a cliff. See… even if the same number of people ride RTA post-cuts (a bold assumption, I know) so long as they ride fewer times per week, ridership is going to take a hit in the chin.
This is exactly how I’ve responded. In the past two weeks, I haven’t ridden RTA at all… nor do I plan on riding it much this month. This is a huge change for someone like me who was consistently riding at least two or three times per week. Now, I use my bike to get to all of the places I want to go, even to the places where I could use RTA, because the service is now so poor that it isn’t even worth the effort of trying.
It’s a brutally vicious cycle because the next time RTA goes to make cuts, they will use poor ridership statistics to justify those cuts. The logic will go: people aren’t using the service, therefore we don’t need the service. Instead, the reality for many people is: I don’t use it because the service has been sliced so thin that it isn't worthwhile anymore.
Let this be a word of warning to cities that have sustainable, albeit struggling transit systems. People respond predictably to service cuts. If you don’t take control and maintain good levels of service, very bad things are going to happen. If the signs of declining revenue are evident, don't wait around, because before long it will be too late.