There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Friday, February 20, 2009

The best of times, the worst of times

Sacramento Regional Transit General Manager Mike Wiley has plenty of good news to give the district board of directors at Monday evening's meeting. But it's just not enough to make up for the bad news coming from the economy in general and the state in particular.

Wiley reports in his "FY 09 -- Key Performance Report" that systemwide ridership is up 10.2 percent counting year-to-date and up the same margin when compared with last January. Light rail is up 7.1 percent on a year-to-date scale and 11.54 percent compared with last January. The bus ridership year-to-date is 13.6 percent higher and compared with last January up 9.07 percent. Bus riders continue to outnumber light rail riders in January.

Unmentioned by Wiley's report is that this increase comes in the face of January's fare increase. Fears that higher fares would discourage ridership haven't been borne out, at least not yet.

That increase in fares in part accounts for the good news on fare recovery.

"For the month of January, RT's fare revenue is above $3.1 million," Wiley reports. "January's fare recovery ration is at 28.1 percent. Compared to the same period last year it is 8.1 percent higher."

As a result of this increase, the district has adjusted its budget, one of the few positive shifts RT is anticipating.

Sacramento Regional Transit GM Report 2009 02 23

At Monday's meeting the board will receive a report on the budget underlines the double-whammy that's slapped the district -- local economic decline shrinking the sales tax revenue and state banditry stealing what was left of the state's assistance to public transit.

On the positive side of the leger, RT expects the Sacramento Urbanized Area to receive $41 million from the federal economic stimulus package.

"This could mean additional funding for RT's preventative maintenance costs up to $6.8 million if all formula requirements are met," reports an Issue Paper that accompanies Agenda Item No. 14.

2009 02 23 RT budget report

1 comment:

The Derek said...

Cuts in service (Like cutting the meadowview train to two cars at 5PM *cough WTF cough*) are more likely to have an impact on ridership than fare increases.
Unfortunately that is exactly what RT has bee forced to do recently. I am now parking at the Florin station where I haven't been able to since I first started riding two years ago.