Kansas City Streetcar Ridership Numbers
After years of losses at the polls, City leaders finally got the vote they needed in 2012 to approve the $102-million-plus streetcar project. After at least one delay of several months, the streetcar officially opened on Friday, May 6, 2016.
How successful was its launch?
That’s tough to say. On its opening weekend there was at least one train (and communication) breakdown, which caused the police to empty not only that train but the one behind it.
As for ridership, each streetcar is equipped with an automatic passenger counter (APC), which is industry standard. Ridership numbers are knowable daily and by hour. Here is the daily ridership so far, as provided by Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and the Streetcar Authority:
· Friday: 12,230
· Saturday: 14,648
· Sunday: 5,448
· Monday: 3,945
How many riders should we expect? Well, that itself appears to be a moving target. The Streetcar Authority CEO recently said that the expected ridership is 2,700 per day. But back in late 2014, we were told ridership would be 3,500 per day. That’s a decrease of 25% before it even started running!
These numbers matter, because ridership will be an important consideration if voters are asked to expand the system.
As opening weekend recedes into the past, it is important to make information about the streetcar easily accessible to the public. We at the Show-Me Institute are thrilled that there is a standard method for counting ridership, and we look forward to collecting and reporting those ridership numbers often.