Passenger trains operating on existing railroad tracks exhibit marginal sustainability; in terms of service, efficiency, cost effectiveness, safety and maintenance, as well as, their ability to attract significant numbers of commuters out of their personal vehicles. Loss of control of one or more of these conditions would threaten the sustainability of passenger rail services currently in operation. The relatively high accident, injury and death statistics associated with Metrolink, and the slow and limited remedial measures engaged to correct the system’s safety problems, pose the greatest challenge to sustaining Metrolink services.
While various measures of sustainability fall into a distinct hierarchy of importance and immediacy, with safety assuming top priority, it is possible that a combination lesser sustainability factors could force discontinuance of part or all of the passenger rail services currently in operation. Patrons tend to have limited tolerance for delays, cancellations, fare increases, unkept facilities and other seemingly minor problems, beyond which they will stop using the services. It is difficult to justify continuation of any transportation service that maintains decreasing or low levels of ridership.