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Rider's Almanac Blog


Survey sheds light on who’s riding transit, and why  

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, March 31, 2022 1:56:00 PM

Data from an on-board survey that was piloted last fall provides a snapshot of who continued to rely on transit during the pandemic.   

Comparing data on the system’s busiest routes from 2021 and 2016, the last time the survey was completed, showed that:  

  • The share of riders who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) increased from 50% to 55%  
  • About 40% of riders who make less than $60,000 a year continued to ride, compared to 24% of those who make more than $60,000 a year  
  • The share of trips made by those with disabilities increased from 11% to 18%  

The 2021 survey also found that nearly a quarter of all trips were being taken for errands or shopping, more than twice the share from 2016. The share of trips being taken for work commutes fell from 38% to 32%.  

“I think that’s a significant part of what we’ve been talking about throughout the pandemic, which is that Metro Transit is supporting people’s daily needs,” said Eric Lind, Manager of Research and Analytics.  

The 2021 survey drew 4,000 responses from riders on the busiest bus routes and light rail. A more expansive on-board survey that will include all routes and, for the first time, weekend riders will begin this summer and continue through the end of the year.  

Understanding who’s riding and for what reasons will help inform future decisions about service. Sustained demand for all-day, all-purpose service will be met with investments in Bus Rapid Transit lines like the METRO D Line, opening in late 2022.  

Watch a March 28 presentation about the 2021 on-board survey 

Ridership growth continues 

February's average weekday ridership hovered around 106,000, a 31% increase from the same month last year. January’s ridership was about 10% higher than the same month in 2021. The ridership increases continue progress made in 2021, when a resumption of in-person classes brought more riders back to transit. Average weekday ridership trends, systemwide and by mode, can now be reviewed at