Friday, July 20, 2007

Forget Ridership Numbers Check Revenue.....

By the time the next round of bus changes takes place in December, you can expect the UTA planners and the board of trustees to be bragging on how much ridership has gone up since the bus changes. However, as I have pointed out in the past, the ridership number is meaningless. Because more people will be forced to transfer under the system, ridership will naturally go up but that means nothing because they have no way to account for transfers and how many trips people actually make.

Instead we should all be looking at the total revenue brought in by fares. In 2006 the UTA brought in 24,627,104 in fares during the year. Of course 2007 is not going to be a good indicator since the changes happen 2/3rds of the way through the year. However, in 2008 there should be a substantial increase in revenue or they UTA has not had a major increase in people taking the bus, they are just using voodoo accounting to make themselves look good.

The only way to tell if this changes are effective is if UTA's revenue increases to at least $30 million for fiscal year 2008. However if that number could be low depending on what happens to gas prices of the next year.

Just remember when UTA says that ridership has gone up .....% since the changes, the number is meaningless.

1 comment:

Frank Staheli said...

I agree with you. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Pay attention to whether UTA is paying its way. It isn't.

One of the ways they attempted to increase ridership is to give BYU faculty and students an annual bus pass for $60. That has the potential of increasing ridership by thousands, but revenue by not much.