by Sam Hieb
Antiplanner posts his list of the nations’ worst transit agencies:
Applying these four criteria to the transit agencies that carry more than 20 million riders a year, the nation’s worst managed transit agency is (drumroll please) — the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). VTA is fifth-worst, with Sacramento, Cleveland, and St. Louis coming between them.
The above-mentioned four criteria Antiplanner uses to rate the nation’s transit systems are: percentage of seats filled; trips per capita; fares as a percent of costs; and change in riders since 2014.Now–to be fair to CATS–the only criterion that Antiplanner specifically calls Charlotte out on is percentage seats filled:
Percentage of seats filled should be obvious. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey fills 87 percent of the seats on its trans-Hudson trains. New York’s MTA fills about 64 percent. Transit agencies in Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Portland fill 40 to 50 percent of their seats. But agencies in Charlotte, Cleveland, Orlando, Sacramento, and San Antonio only fill 20 to 25 percent of seats. San Jose’s VTA is 26 percent. Low passenger counts means agencies are providing too much service or service that goes to the wrong places.
Only filling a quarter of seats–at most should be enough to earn the title of worst transit agency, although Antiplanner does concede the CATS’ low score “was something of a surprise.” I would certainly trust Antiplanner’s judgement over my own; however anyone who’s paying attention down here in North Carolina wouldn’t be surprised at all.