Data from SMART’s first full month of operations show daily ridership fell below its initial target levels on weekdays, although weekend ridership consistently surpassed expectations.
During September, weekday ridership often ranged between 2,000 and 2,700 daily passengers, while weekend ridership was often in the 1,500 to 2,200-passenger range. The agency had set targets of up to 3,000 daily riders on weekdays and 300 on weekends, when the system runs fewer trains and trips.
“We’re a brand-new business, brand-new operations,” said Farhad Mansourian, SMART’s general manager. “We are overall — not day by day or minute by minute, but overall — meeting the financial and the ridership (targets). That’s a terrific beginning.”
SMART’s total daily average passengers for September was 2,167, just shy of the agency’s projected daily average of 2,229.
Mansourian said the agency’s budget remained on track after its first month, noting fare revenue depends not only on the number of riders but also on how much they pay for their tickets, given the discounts available to passengers.
“Financially, everything is going very well,” Mansourian said.
The highest ridership last month occurred Friday, Sept. 22, when trains carried 2,675 passengers. The lowest ridership occurred Sunday, Sept. 10, when trains carried 1,505 passengers.
Given the higher-than-expected weekend traffic, SMART may add another train on weekends, Mansourian said.
“Highway 101 on weekends northbound is an absolute parking lot,” he said of the agency’s weekend service.
“I’ll bet you a lot of people want to go visit relatives or want to go to recreation and simply do not want to spend an hour and a half on a weekend on 101. This gives them a fantastic option.”
What: Afternoon of Recognition hosted by Amaturo Sonoma Media Group
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 30
Where: Old Courthouse Square, Santa ROsa
More details: heroesofoctober.com
What: Wildfire Anniversary Event: Community Healing Together. All-ages event to with art activities, musical performances, guided hikes, and food.
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 6
Where: Shiloh Ranch Regional Park, 5750 Faught Road
More details: https://parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov
What: Museums of Sonoma County opening reception for “From the Fire: A Community Reflects and Rebuilds,” which runs through Jan. 27
When: 3-6 p.m. Oct. 6
Where: 505 B St., Santa Rosa
Tickets/more details: museumsc.org
*The event is the first in a larger series through the month of October, including an Oct. 25 event from 7-8:30 p.m. at 505 B St. featuring Press Democrat journalists discussing the fire coverage that earned the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize.
What: Together in Hope, a prayer gathering in solidarity to honor and remember the resiliency and recovery from the North Bay Fires.
When: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7
Where: Cardinal Newman High School Field, 50 Ursuline Road.
More details: http://santarosacatholic.org
What: County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa’s ceremony, featuring chalk for artistic expression on sidewalks around Courthouse Square.
When: 4 – 8 p.m. Oct. 8, with a ceremony with a reading by Sonoma County Poet Laureate, Maya Khosla, and a firefighter memorial bell ringing begins at 6 p.m. Chalk will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 9
Where: Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa
What: La Luz Center’s appreciation of community resiliency, featuring food, art activities, resources and a listening session in Spanish conducted by Sustainable Sonoma.
When: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 8
Where: La Luz Center, 17560 Greger St. Sonoma
What: Honoring Loss, Rising in Hope – an evening of singing, prayer and reflection.
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 9
Where: First United Methodist Church, 1151 Montgomery Drive
More details: Contact Pastor Lindsey Bell-Kerr at Lindsey.Bell-Kerr@fumcsantarosa.org
What: One-year remembrance gathering hosted by Coffey Strong
When: 7-8 p.m. Oct. 9
Where: Near the intersection of Hopper Avenue and Coffey Lane
More details: facebook.com/events/2123622767957025
To read all of the PD's fire anniversary coverage, click here