Defying Predictions from Ardent Highway Lobby, Rail Ridership Continues to Grow on New Systems

Anti-mass-transit activists keep beating their anti-rail drums (see numerous posts at our “aggregation site” under the Slater and Prevedouros headings), but the experience of new rail systems shows how readily commuters embrace the rail option.

The nation’s newest system in Norfolk, VA, began passenger service in August, and as these systems go, The Tide is small – just 7 miles long – and relatively slow due to its at-grade layout.

According to the local newspaper, The Tide’s daily ridership during its first month was 74 percent above expectations. Some rode out of curiosity – it’s “itoo convenient not to try” – but others already have incorporated rail transit into their daily commute. From the Virginian-Pilot:

“It takes Bobby Parks an extra 20 minutes to commute to work and an extra $50 for a monthly pass to ride The Tide. Still, he’s hooked. ’To me, not having to drive (interstate) 284 is worth it,’ he said. ‘It makes me cringe with the potholes and bumps…. Light rail is less stressful and, with traffic, it’s more consistent.’”
Fast and Reliable

Mr. Parks avoids the traffic hassle completely during his Tide ride and even is willing to go out of his way to take the train. Avoiding congestion is one reason why tens of thousands of Oahu residents are expected to choose Honolulu rail over the tedium of driving on the H-1 and surface roads that parallel the freeway.