“Planning Pool:” Length of Year Increases 800% in 2008 from Previous Year?

The Canadian planning blog “Planning Pool” congratulated the Charlotte, North Carolina light rail line, noting that it “experienced an 800% increase in ridership last year” (“Transit Success in Sprawl City,” December 4).

The impressive increase was made possible by comparing apples and oranges. Last year (2008) the Charlotte light rail service operated all year, while in the previous year (2007), service operated fewer than 40 days (the line opened in late November). Following its logic, the “Planning Pool” missed an even bigger story: apparently 2008 was 800% longer than the previous year (an increase from fewer than 40 days to 365).

Of course, it’s either apples or oranges and, one way or the other, a revision is in order.