Historical ridership numbers were provided to AOA by CDTA. Population numbers are via the US Census. Gasoline price numbers are via NYSERDA. Inflation adjustments via the BLS online calculator.
CDTA ridership history
Rides per capita
One of the things we were curious about was CDTA's ridership compared to the Capital Region's total population. So here's a crude workup -- it's per capita annual ridership, based on the decennial Census population counts for the Capital Region four core counties.
(Just to make clear, this smudgy at best because the population counts are only updated decade by decade -- so they're going to be more accurate at the beginning of each decade. And though the Capital Region's population hasn't changed quickly, there is variation year to year. So, grains of salt.)
Ridership vs. gas prices
It's probably not a bad guess to figure that the price of gasoline would have some influence on much people ride the bus. So here's the last decade of ridership along with the maximum monthly average gas price (in 2015 dollars) for each fiscal year.
(Why the maximum monthly average for the year? Well, we could have used the average for the year, but that was flattening out some of the large spikes in gas prices, especially around 2008. If a relatively high gas price is a prompt for some people to switch how they get to work (or wherever), then we figured using the max monthly average would better catch these prompts. Again, this is very crude and smudgy.)
CDTA announced this week that is had more than 17 million boardings in the fiscal year that ended this past March -- that's the highest total in the transit org's history. And it's the second straight year that CDTA's ridership number has set an all-time record.
The org reports that ridership is up 23 percent over the last five years. And a large chunk of its ridership now falls under "universal access" agreements it's struck with local colleges and employers during the last few years. CDTA says riders using the system under these agreements represented more than 4 million boardings last year.
So, put simply, people are riding the bus more often.
We were curious for some historical context, so we got a hold of CDTA ridership numbers over its history and did a few comparisons...
Graphs are above
They're in large format above -- click or scroll all the way up.
+ Not in the driver's seat
+ Four trends shaping the way people will get around the Capital Region in the future
+ Navigator, CDTA's new smart card fare system, could start in 2015
+ CDTA now offering realtime bus info
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