The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced that the agency saw a 10% year-over-year increase in total system ridership in September 2023 compared to September 2022 with more than 24.5 million boardings, marking the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year ridership growth.
Metro’s monthly bus and rail ridership is now at nearly 80% of its 2019 pre-pandemic level. Average weekend ridership is now at 91% of pre-pandemic (September 2019) levels and 77% for average weekdays.
The increased focus on safety, and the resulting 53% decrease in crime across the system since April, is helping to drive increased ridership.
September Ridership Breakdown
In September, Metro had 24,671,730 boardings on its bus and rail services. An average of 938,167 rides were taken each weekday, the first time since February 2020 that weekday Metro ridership has surpassed 900,000 boardings.
Saturday boardings averaged 637,957 and Sunday boardings averaged 543,721. Post-pandemic ridership recovery continues to be strongest on the weekends, with average boardings on Saturdays reaching 86% of their (September 2019) pre-pandemic level and average boardings on Sundays reaching 92% of their (September 2019) pre-pandemic level.
September 2023 marked the third full month of operation for the newly reconfigured A and E Lines, thanks to the opening of the Regional Connector project in June 2023.
The Regional Connector project consolidated three of Metro’s legacy rail lines, the A (Blue), E (Expo), and L (Gold) Lines, into two: the A Line, serving customers from Azuza to Long Beach, and the E Line, serving customers from East L.A. to Santa Monica. The project also opened three new stations in downtown L.A.
During September 2023, ridership on the A and E Lines was 23% higher than the combined ridership on the A (Blue), E (Expo), and L (Gold) Lines on weekdays in September 2022. Ridership on the weekends in September 2023 rose 33% compared to the combined ridership on the A (Blue), E (Expo), and L (Gold) Lines in September 2022.
In September 2023, Metro bus ridership saw an 11% year-over-year increase. More than 19.5 million rides were taken on Metro buses, with total bus ridership in September 2023 at 81% of its level in September 2019, before the pandemic.
Average weekday bus ridership increased by 50,000 riders in September 2023 over August 2023, with more than 750,000 average weekday riders.
L.A. Metro GoPass Pilot Program
In its third year, Metro’s GoPass pilot program, which offers free transit passes to K-12 and community college students in participating schools, had over 1.6 million student boardings in September 2023, a 23% year-over-year increase over September 2022, which saw 1.3 million boardings.
In September 2023 GoPass boardings were 103% higher than August 2023 which saw 801,163 student boardings. The program observed 1,458,992 student bus boardings and 164,806 student rail boardings during September 2023.
To date, the program has 345,907 registered students from 1,537 participating schools in 110 participating school districts (including public districts, charter networks, community colleges, and private schools).
Since the program launched in October 2021, there have been more than 25 million boardings by students using the free fare student GoPass.
Metro also provides transit through its reduced-price transit pass program LIFE.
Metro’s Low-Income Fare is Easy (LIFE) program gives free rides and reduced fares to low-income customers. Those new to the program receive a free 90-day pass. After the first 90 days, riders can either load 20 free rides or purchase a discounted pass from any of the LIFE participating transit agencies.
The LIFE program helps qualifying Los Angeles County residents save money by providing free rides or deeply discounted fares on 13 transit systems across Los Angeles County.