by Sam Hieb
The first full month ridership numbers are out for Charlotte’s Lynx Blue Line extension are out, and the result is….numbers are down:
The $1.1 billion Lynx Blue Line Extension opened March 16, connecting uptown to UNC Charlotte.
After the opening, the entire Blue Line averaged 26,064 trips on an average weekday in March. In April, the entire Blue Line averaged 24,333 weekday passenger trips.
…What’s unclear is whether ridership will begin a slow steady climb. That’s what happened with the original Blue Line in 2007, when more and more people rode the train in the first six months of operation.
Retired UNC Charlotte transportation professor David Hartgen said it’s important to see at least five more months of ridership data before making a judgment on the extension’s success or failure.
But he said he doesn’t see any factors that could push ridership higher in the year. In the summer, most UNC Charlotte students won’t be on campus, which could hurt ridership. UNC Charlotte students can ride CATS buses and the Lynx for free because they have paid for a mandatory transit pass as part of their student fees.
“We need a few months to really see it,” Hartgen said.
Indeed we will get a true feel for the ridership numbers when UNCC students return to school in full force come the fall.