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Metro Launches 'More Trains More Often' with Shorter Waits, Shorter Trains

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, November 07, 2011, at 11:13AM
Metro Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Email blast from Metro promoting a press conference for "More Trains More Often" service on the Red, Purple and Blue lines.

Trains on Metro's three highest-ridership rail lines will run every 10 minutes from 6pm to midnight under the transit agency's "More Trains More Often" pilot project, officially unveiled this morning.

Just what it will take for the program to be measured a success and continue past June of 2012 remains to be seen.

The Red, Purple and Blue lines currently run every 20 minutes later in the evening. The new program will use shorter trains and run them more often to reduce wait times while not significantly raising service costs. The increased service will run seven nights per week, starting on Sunday, November 13.

Running the stepped-up timetable for a full year would cost $1.3 million, said Metro spokesman Marc Littman. Much of that cost would come from needing to hire 15 new operators to run the split-up trains.

The effort uses funds found in Metro's current budget, and not the private money that was required for a 2008 late night holiday pilot. That effort was the brainchild of 213 Ventures' Cedd Moses, who contributed some of the $54,000 raised to extend Red Line service to 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. Bringing Back Broadway coordinated fundraising for the pilot, which attracted approximately 1000 riders per night.

Success of the current effort will depend on both ridership numbers and feedback from businesses along the route, Littman said. The Red and Purple lines currently carry just under 19,000 passengers nightly between 7pm and midnight, while the Blue line carries approximately 9,400. The transit agency does not have a set number that ridership must hit for the effort to be deemed a success.

The new service won't do much for riders who would like to use Metro to get back from a night on the town. The last trains on the three lines currently leave between midnight and 1am. An expansion of those service hours is something that Metro will consider as part of budgeting process for its next fiscal year, which starts in July of 2012.

Metro's board will consider whether to extend the current service expansion in March.

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