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Rider Rants the Sprinter
From the latest Rider Newsletter
Sprinter Rail Bad News Keeps on Coming Down the Track
RIDER COMMENT: As it turns out, even my supposedly pessimistic Sprinter rail passenger projections may have been too optimistic. I figured about 8,000-9000 passengers a day average (divide by two to get actual number of PEOPLE using Sprinter) – vs. the 12,000 daily passenger, end of year projection by the NCTD bureaucrats.
The latest two week ridership figures have, as expected by sane prognosticators, dropped once the novelty wore off. The latest figure is 6,494 passengers a day.
6,494 passengers is even less than the rail boosters said would be Sprinter riders as a result of the canceled bus services. (Yes, NCTD estimated that 75% of the projected 12,000 Sprinter passengers would be former bus riders, which, for you mathematically impaired folks – a.k.a. Politicians – comes to about 9,000 x-bus riders.
Fortunately NCTD has hit upon an easy cure for the problem – stop reporting the ridership! Well, not exactly. But rather than reporting the ridership every two weeks as they have up until now, henceforth they'll release the figures only once a quarter. Unstated is how diligent NCTD will be in disseminating these figures.
Still to come is this summer, where for three months the ridership to the three colleges (sort of) on the Sprinter route will be in reduced enrollment mode. That's not gonna help with the ridership hype.
One other tidbit – from what I've found from being on the Transportation Committee of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA), there is another $20-$30 million yet to be paid in heretofore unreported Sprinter construction costs – from botched contracts, cost overruns and legal actions. It makes the math easier – we'll shortly pass the half billion dollar benchmark, which is much easier to remember than $480 million or so currently listed as the Sprinter construction cost.
This month SDCTA holds its annual dinner where it dispenses its coveted “Golden Fleece” awards for the most ludicrous expenditures of taxpayer dollars. If this were the Oscars, I'd expect one outlay to sweep the awards – the Sprinter. If it doesn't win top honors this year, there is no justice in the world.
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