In the never-ending news of incompetency in government transportation agencies, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is having some problems with record keeping. According to the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, the First Hill Streetcar — only in its fourth month of operation — continues to face technical difficulties.
This time around, the difficulty has to do with SDOT’s ability to track daily ridership. Via the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog:
“According to an SDOT spokesperson, the streetcar’s automated passenger counters are collecting data, but there is no way for the department to access it — the information is not making its way to the software system set up to read it…
“For now, the department has a few other ways to measure things. In March, SDOT calculated 50,159 rides from ORCA Card taps — roughly 1,618 rides per day.”
The latest example of incompetency is frustrating. But, it’s the next part that is the real kicker. Via the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog:
“But even with a complete daily count, it would be unclear how ridership was meeting expectations. It turns out, SDOT has no projections for how the streetcar should have performed that month. In fact, SDOT’s only ridership forecast or goals come from a 2010 Sound Transit study (PDF) that projected ridership would reach 3,000 to 3,500 daily passengers by 2030.”
So, even if SDOT could access the automated passenger counters, it wouldn’t matter considering the fact that there is no forecast or goal to use for the purpose of determining its value. Perhaps SDOT realized the original ridership goal of 3,000 to 3,500 daily passengers wasn’t possible, so it did away with goals altogether.
In any case, it looks like SDOT is setting expectations for the streetcar very low… nonexistent low.