Does gentrification explain why fewer people are riding the No. 2 bus down Sunset?

Sep 7, 2017

The No. 2 bus is one of several Metro lines on Sunset Boulevard that pass through Echo Park and Silver Lake, taking riders as far east as Downtown and as far west as the Pacific Ocean.  In recent years, however, ridership on the No. 2 line and across the Metro bus system has declined.  But it seems the No. 2 Line has taken a bigger hit, with estimated weekday ridership in July of this year plunging 35% from the same month in 2009.  It’s not clear what caused the drop, but one reason could be gentrification, says Curbed L.A.

The system-wide drop in bus ridership could be caused by a variety of factors, from slower-moving buses and new rail service to an improved economy that has former riders leaving the bus for private vehicles.  The list of possible reasons, says Curbed,  could also include a sharp rise in housing costs along the “gentrification corridor” that has priced out many bus riders who used to board the No. 2 and other lines. Says Curbed:

“While there has been little dedicated research on this specific phenomena, consider the ridership of the No. 2 bus route, which runs along Sunset Boulevard from Downtown LA, through Echo Park, Silver Lake and Hollywood, to Pacific Palisades. In July of 2009, the Sunset Boulevard bus carried just over 22,000 passengers daily. Last month, the same route carried about 14,300 passengers daily. While other factors might explain the dip in ridership, the fact remains that a bus traveling along a gentrification corridor lost 35 percent of its riders during a period when Metro’s total system lost 15 percent of its riders, Metro data shows.”

The No. 2 bus also faced growing competition from improvements to the Metro Rapid service that also runs along the eastern section of Sunset Boulevard.  However, Metro ridership stats for the other Sunset lines , including the Rapid Bus, also show declines, but not as steep as those of the No. 2.

The agency is now in the process of a 3-year review to restructure its bus lines in the wake of the ridership losses.

If you have been a long-time No. 2 rider, have you noticed fewer passengers riding the bus?

July 2017 Ridership | Source: Metro

July 2016 Ridership | Source: Metro

July 2015 Ridership | Source: Metro

July 2014 Ridership | Source: Metro

July 2013 Ridership | Source: Metro

July 2012 Ridership | Source: Metro

July 2011 Ridership | Source: Metro

July 2010 Ridership | Source: Metro

July 2009 Ridership | Source: Metro

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