Raleigh discussions of light rail or other mass transit options never seem to get the ridership factor right. Plans to build a rail system or to expand an existing bus system should not be based on current ridership. Alleging that there are, or are not, enough riders to support the project is putting the cart before the horse.
Why do the majority of New Yorkers ride the subway? Or Parisians ride the Metro? Or Londoners ride the tube? Because they can get riders almost anywhere they need to go and they run 24/7.
If riders can count on getting to and from destinations whenever they want, they will use the system. If it only goes part of the way or doesn’t operate late at night or on Sundays or makes them wait more than 15 or 20 minutes, they won’t use it.
Infrastructure comes first; ridership will follow.
Is the Triangle’s largely suburban population ready to pay for that vision of the future? I’d like to think so, but I doubt it.