Originally Posted by TexasPlaya
Ridership per mile.
So what? Metro reports 39,500 rail riders per day, Dart reports a total of 71,100 rail riders per day. Source, both Wikipedia articles.
Riders per mile math:
39,500 / 7.5 = ~5300 passengers per mile.
71,100 / 45 = ~1600 passengers per mile.
Houston Metro's Red Line takes 30 minutes to travel a distance of 7.5 miles, Dallas Dart's Red Line takes 66 minutes to travel a distance of 27 miles. In 7.5 miles, Metro's line has 16 stations, averaging a station every 0.46 mile. In 27 miles, Dart's line has 25 stations, averaging a station every 1.1 mile. Why is it surprising Houston's Metro Red Line gets more ridership per mile? You're never further than a 1/4 mile between rail stations.
But, lets now compare the average speeds of the trains. Dart's Red Line trains average 25 mph, Metro's Red Line trains average 15 mph. When you're building a rail line out to the second ring of suburbs around a major city, speed is more important than riders/mile. I would like to point out Metro's Red Line doesn't even reach Houston's city limits in either the northern or southern direction. Additionally, it doesn't reach north of downtown Houston yet.
So, you're trying to compare Apples to Oranges. Dart has 13 member cities while Metro has 16 member cities. But, their Board of Directors are set up entirely differently. Metro has 7 Board Members, 5 appointed by Houston and 2 by the rest (15 cities). I think it is obvious Metro is set up to favor Houston unfairly. Meanwhile, Dart has 15 Board Members, split proportionally to member cities population. Presently, 8 represent Dallas, the remaining 7 represent the rest. I think it is obvious Dart isn't set up to favor Dallas unfairly.
Because of how the two Boards are set up, it easy to understand why Dart builds rail lines to the suburbs while Metro doesn't. I suggest the reason why Dart has twice the number of daily passengers on its trains is because rail actually goes to the suburbs.