More passengers than ever before are choosing public transit in North San Diego County. North County Transit District set an all-time high for passenger trips in fiscal year (FY) 2014, which concluded on June 30. During FY 2014 year, a total of 12,583,961 million customer trips were taken on NCTD’s public transit services, exceeding the previous record that was set in FY 2000 by 14,628 trips.
The record ridership reflects a culmination of recent system improvements made by NCTD, including the successful implementation of NCTD’s Mobility Plan. This multi-phase plan, which NCTD initiated in 2011 and finished implementing earlier in 2014, included the lowering of fares on Breeze, Lift, and Coaster, realignment and rescheduling of bus and train routes to better meet customers’ needs. Other proactive innovations, including offering online and mobile phone ticketing, complimentary Wi-Fi on the Sprinter and Coaster, and additional Coaster trips through the Amtrak Rail2Rail program, also served to boost ridership on NCTD’s transit modes.
In addition to reaching record overall ridership in FY 2014, NCTD set record ridership levels on the Sprinter hybrid rail, which had more than 2.5 million customer trips, and the Coaster commuter rail, which boasted more than 1.7 million customer trips. Passengers took more than 8.1 million trips on the Breeze bus, more than 154,000 trips on Lift paratransit vehicles, and nearly 25,000 trips using the Flex demand-response service.
NCTD’s preliminary financial and performance results for FY 2014 indicate that while service levels increased, the system-wide operating cost per revenue mile held consistent with FY 2013, and that the operating cost per passenger trip declined over the same period. Preliminary estimates for FY 2014 also indicate that the operating recovery ratio is well ahead of budgeted projections indicating that a lower public subsidy was needed to support NCTD’s operations.
“It’s rewarding to see such positive results from improvements NCTD has implemented,” said Bill Horn, chair of NCTD’s Board of Directors and District 5 Supervisor of the County of San Diego. “I’m pleased to see our transit system is becoming a convenient choice for more North County commuters.”