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Sounder North Costs Per Ride

>> View charts | Explanation of charts:

The attached charts show calculations of "cost per ride" for Sounder North, based upon Sound Transit estimates of capital costs, O&M costs and ridership estimates. All cost and ridership estimates are from Sound Transit's 2005 financial plan (as of November 2004), adjusted to 2005$. The cost-per-ride outcomes assume that all riders are new riders to transit, and it also assumes that 100% of the capital investment is of benefit to those riders.

The first worksheet summarizes the finding for Annualized Capital Cost per FTA guidelines. That annual cost is constant throughout the life of the project and does not vary with ridership. The primary set of O&M annual costs represent a 22-year average from service inception (2004) thru 2025, as do the ride estimates. The average total cost per ride during that 22-year period would be $70 of which the rider pays about $2.50 leaving $67.50 for public subsidy. Annual public subsidy = $67.50 x 2 rides/day x 250 days per year = $33,700.

But current costs per ride are far greater than the long-term average. The column highlighted in bright yellow shows the calculations for the current 2005 year: Cost per ride - $276; rider fare - $2.46; public subsidy - $273.44 per ride = $136,700 per year.

The second and third sheets show the year by year estimates where the cost per ride falls dramatically as more train runs are added and ridership supposedly soars. Just as we are finding for Sounder South, I believe future ridership is significantly overestimated. The rest of the sheets show the supporting calcs converting ST YOE$ estimates to 2005$ estimates. The 2005$ estimates were then summed and averaged.

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