Twenty-five years after Santa Clara County's first light-rail train left its station, many are wondering how the much-anticipated transit system has become plagued by low ridership and exorbitant costs.
The Valley Transportation Authority's light-rail system ranks among the worst public transit districts in the country in terms of costs and ridership. Compared to the U.S. average costs, the Silicon Valley system costs 30 percent more to operate and carries 30 percent fewer passengers. The average cost to carry one passenger round trip is $11.74, the third highest in the nation.
Taxpayers subsidize 85 percent of the service, ranking second worst in the country. Most riders complain that light-rail speeds are slow, often less than 10 mph in downtown San Jose. (Source: The Sacramento Bee, December 31.)