06/24/2021

Just How Much has Los Angeles Transit Ridership Fallen?

Los Angeles transit ridership has fallen even more than a recent Los Angeles Times front page story indicated, according to Thomas A. Rubin, who served as Chief Financial Officer (auditor/controller) of the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) from 1989 until 1993, SCRTD merged with the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) after the first new rail line was opened in the early 1990s (I served as a city of Los Angeles appointee to the board of LACTC). It is not that the Times misreported the story, but rather that the official data it used does not fully account for important underlying ridership data. Rubin’s analysis, (available here), responds to a commentary by Ethan Elkind who criticized the Los Angeles Times article for providing a misleadingly pessimistic ridership picture. Rubin shows that, in fact, a closer look at the data suggests things are even worse that suggested by the Times.

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