Railway To Financial Hell

The latest numbers – from the Met Council website – show that the Northstar Line is an even bigger cash suck than we’d predicted it’d be.

Click to see chart at a readable size.

Ridership is off sharply.  Operating subsidies are up; each ride on the Northstar line costs the taxpayer over $20.  That’s per ticket.

A source at the Capitol who’s been working the numbers on Northstar writes:

“One more point. The NorthStar lovers like to point out that one of the reasons that the numbers are down is because the Twins have sucked the last two years. Well, there does seem to be some truth (taken with a two-ton tablet of salt) to that…the numbers from April to October do give you the sense that the Twins could have an impact.

The source anticipates some of the counterarguments:

Of course, this ignores the fact that we, here in Frostbite Falls, tend to be rather sedentary during the colder months. Heck, just look at freeway traffic in the summer months, which is always higher than winter months.

But look at the numbers: Even if you give them ALL the increase in riders for Twins games, the differential averages to 1,026 per game. That’s down from 1,340 per game in 2011. If you’re gonna bank your success on Twins game riders…good luck with THAT.

The fact is, the Twins could win back to back World Series and the Northstar Line would still be hemorrhaging money.