Several reasons why this projection is fishy:
1. By dividing the 111,000 ridership to six stations, each station would have on average 18,500 entries and exits. Using the 2000 BART ridership breakdown (which has declined since then), only 5 BART stations (all in San Francisco: Powell, Montgomery, Balboa Park, 24th Street, and Embarcadero) have a higher non-transbay entries and exits than 18,500. For reason for using non-transbay ridership because, unlike the transbay corridor faced with limited highway capacity and the $2 toll effective at that time, the drivers Santa Clara County have multiple free routes to and from the East Bay as well as San Francisco. About half of the BART ridership is transbay.
Two major factors should be considered when reviewing BART ridership in San Francisco: 1) San Francisco permits Muni Fast Pass holders unlimited rides on BART within the city, which VTA probably will not allow for its passholders. 2) San Francisco has a considerably higher density than San Jose (16,634.4 persons per square mile in SF v. 5,117.9 persons per square mile in SJ)
If transbay ridership is included, only 9 BART stations have overall ridership over 18,500. In addition to the 5 SF stations, they're 16th Street/Mission, Civic Center, Oakland 12th Street and Downtown Berkeley. So far only the land use around the downtown San Jose station could match downtown Oakland or Berkeley, but without the benefit of the transbay ridership base. Stations in the East Bay further away from the Oakland/SF core tend to have lower ridership, and the land use around these stations are typically similar to the South Bay.
2. VTA's new projection is similar to the LA's Red Line subway, which is 18.6 miles long and carries about 117,543 riders per day. The LA's Red Line has 16 stations, serving downtown LA (which has much taller buildings than San Jose), the Wilshire Corridor (more dense than El Camino, with Metro Rapid buses operating every 2 minutes duplicating the Red Line), Hollywood, and the south end of the San Fernando Valley. It has links to the Blue Line (with 75,000 riders per day) and Gold Line light rail, as well as Amtrak and Metrolink. LA's Red Line uses the same fare structure with its bus and light rail counterparts, offering a flat fare, along with day and monthly passes. It is also a subway line using the proof-of-payment system common with light rail.
LA's sytem was originally projected to carry about 300,000 riders per day.
LA has four times the population of San Jose, and its population density is higher than San Jose but lower than San Francisco.
3. VTA, after years of fare increases and service reductions, have fewer than 100,000 riding on its bus system today. The projected BART ridership is higher than the current systemwide bus ridership. The system in LA, even with 117,543 riders on the Red Line, has over 1.2 million boardings per weekday on its bus system. San Francisco Muni carries over 700,000 riders per weekday on its bus and rail system, more than twice of BART's overall ridership.
If for some magical reasons, VTA achieves the high density developments needed to support 111,000 riders on BART, how many would be riding its buses and light rail? (hint: probably 7 to 10 times higher than BART) And will VTA have the necessary funds to support a bus and light rail system that could carry over 1 million riders each weekday? (probably VTA is assuming that everything else stays constant)
This BART extension isn't the New York subway or London Underground, a higher BART ridership along with a low bus and light rail ridership defies common logic!
Why GIGO? Like in the past, VTA has been certifying lies to win elections. Back in 2000, when Pete Cipolla reported that an additional tax is necessary to provide additional operating funds, some of the directors said in public that a new tax was not needed because the economy was doing so well and the tax money was pouring in. Today, many years sooner than Cipolla originally estimated, VTA plans for a new tax. VTA and the SVLG will likely use this new figure to try mislead voters to support a new tax as well.