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I applaud the resourcefulness of the four young researchers who analyzed data from ORCA card usage to look at transit usage [“UW student project taps ORCA cards, unlocks data trove,” Local News, Aug. 22]. However, the local transit agencies should be very cautious about using the results of this work — unless The Times reporter omitted some important information.

Why? Because the Data Science for Social Good program appears not to have put their technical inquiry into a valid social framework. If 40 percent of the ridership does not have ORCA cards, that means that a very significant chunk of transit usage is not being included in the research. And there is every reason to hypothesize that this group of transit riders have patterns different from those of riders with ORCA cards — else they might well have such cards.

These non-ORCA riders may be tourists, episodic users, the homebound who get out infrequently, and others — and they do contribute to filling the buses and expect adequate number and frequency of bus runs.

So it is possible that basing transit-bus routes and times on the results of the research might well lead to less satisfactory transit for a great many riders.

Philip L. Bereano, Seattle