DART rail riders (myself included) have been wondering why Red Line trains are running SRO during rush hour while new Green Line service has longer trains and many extra seats. Green service opened to the suburbs this month, coinciding with cutback on train frequency on other lines. Some veteran Red Liners (like me) have been squawking that we’re getting hosed and the Green Liners pampered.
Here, then, is an explanation from DART VP of planning and development Todd Plesko:
Since 2008 ridership on the DART light rail system (including the Red Line) has declined substantially. In August 2008, weekday boardings on the Red/Blue line averaged approximately 72,000 daily boardings. By August 2010, ridership declined to approximately 56,000 daily boardings on the Red and Blue combined which is a 22 %. decline. The decline was greatest in the peak hours based upon our counts.
Following the decline, the average maximum load over the peak hour on the Red Line declined to approximately 1.0, which means that the number of passengers on board at the maximum load point equaled the number of seats. By comparison, in 2008, the peak load ratio on the Red Line exceeded 1.25 (passengers/seats).