California’s Metrolink achieved its highest annual ridership in the almost 27-year history of the agency with 11,935,356 boardings in fiscal year (FY) 2018-2019. The new record is an increase of 247,000 from the prior year and eclipses the previous record of 11,796,086 set in FY 2008-2009. A fiscal year for Metrolink spans from July 1 of one calendar year through June 30 of the next.
This milestone marks five years in a row of ridership increases on the Metrolink system. The rise in ridership is in stark contrast to a trend of declining or flat ridership in public transportation nationwide.
Contributing to the 2.1% increase in ridership from FY 2017-2018, the Metrolink Board increased its marketing investment, approved discounts to offset decreasing ridership on some lines, and got creative by offering trial rides for Earth Day and Bike Month.
Metrolink’s trend toward higher ridership has continued this new fiscal year. Compared to July 2018, there were 3.7% more riders in 2019, with every Metrolink line experiencing ridership growth in July. Additionally, mobile ticket sales reached their highest month ever in July 2019 at $3,088,373.
Metrolink also credits the strong local economy for its boost in ridership with more workers traveling through Los Angeles Union Station, the region’s transportation hub.