From the OC Register:
Five years ago, at a time of robust economic growth, the board of the Orange County Transportation Authority approved a plan to expand Metrolink commuter rail service. At the time, officials predicted that by 2010, average weekday ridership on the three Metrolink lines that serve Orange County would grow from about 14,000 to more than 30,000....Will Kempton, OCTA's CEO, believes that once trains are running more frequently, more people will ride them. The idea is that, with trains running every half hour or so, "people won't have to worry so much about a schedule," Kempton said. "They can simply go to the station and know that there will be a train." That, he says, should result in a "stable and expanding ridership base." Still, it's unclear who the new riders will be. "Voters always vote for rail," said David Brownstone, an economics professor at UC Irvine who studies transportation. Brownstone noted that California voters in 2008 approved a $10 billion bond measure for a high-speed rail system that could one day compete with Metrolink and Amtrak on the Anaheim-to-Los Angeles route. "They think it's going to cut congestion," Brownstone said. "Time and time again, people vote for these things and I think they think someone else is going to take (the train). It doesn't happen." Yet studies have shown that increasing the frequency of transit service does yield an increase in ridership, said Marlon Boarnet, a professor of planning at UCI.

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