Public Transit Ridership Surges in 2nd Quarter

Woman boarding city train photo

Public Transit Ridership Surges in 2nd Quarter

Almost 140 Million More Trips Taken Than 2007 Second Quarter

September 9, 2008

APTA contacts:

Virginia Miller
(202) 496-4816

Mantill Williams
(202) 496-4869

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced today that Americans took more than 2.8 billion trips on public transportation in the second quarter of 2008. This is almost 140 million more trips than last year for the same time period.

In 2007, 10.3 billion trips were taken on public transportation – the highest number of trips taken on U.S. public transportation in 50 years. In the second quarter of 2008, public transportation continued to climb and rose by 5.2 percent. In contrast, the Federal Highway Administration has reported that the vehicle miles traveled on our nation’s roads declined by 3.3 percent in the second quarter.

“Record numbers of Americans from small communities to large cities continue to ride public transportation to beat the high gas prices,” said APTA President William W. Millar. “This large quarterly increase is remarkable, particularly since an economic downturn usually causes fewer people to ride public transit. This surge in ridership underlines the urgent need for increased investment in public transportation from state, local and federal governments.”

Light rail had the highest percentage of ridership increase among all modes, with a double digit 12.3 percent increase for the second quarter. Light rail systems showed double digit increases in the following areas: Buffalo, NY (45.9%); Philadelphia (34.9%); Kenosha, WI (26.9%); Sacramento (26.3%); Salt Lake City (19.4%); Minneapolis (16.0%); Baltimore (13.7%); San Francisco, CA (12.2%); and Pittsburgh (12.0%).

Bus ridership saw the second highest increase with a 5.1 percent nationwide. Bus travel in all size communities saw ridership increases; communities with a populations ranging from 100,000 to 499,999 saw an increase (14.0%) in bus ridership. In communities with a population under 100,000 – bus ridership increased by (11.1%). Even in larger communities bus service saw significant increases. In communities of 500,000 to 1,999,999 ridership increased by (5.2%) and in cities with populations over 2 million, bus ridership increased by (3.4%).

The highest increases at the largest bus agencies occurred in the following cities: Baltimore, MD (18.0%); San Antonio, TX (14.0%); Phoenix, AZ (13.3%); Oakland, CA (10.2%); San Diego, CA (9.6%); Chicago, IL (8.5%); Denver, CO (8.0%); Minneapolis, MN (7.6%); Seattle, WA (7.5%); and Boston, MA (5.3%).

Ridership on commuter rail was up 4.9 percent nationally. Commuter rail systems with double digit ridership growth rates in the second quarter of 2008 were located in the following cities: Portland, ME (43.2%); Seattle, WA (30.9%); Pompano Beach, FL (28.8%); Santa Fe, NM (28.3%); Harrisburg, PA (17.8%); Philadelphia, PA (15.5%); Dallas, TX (15.3%); Stockton, CA (14.9%); New Haven, CT (13.7%); and Oakland, CA (13.7%).

Heavy rail (subways and elevated trains) ridership increased by 4.3 percent. The heavy rail systems with the highest increases in ridership for the 2008 second quarter were in the following cities: San Juan, PR (20.8%); Atlanta, GA (15.6%); New York, NY (11.3%); Miami, FL (9.2%); Lindenwold, NJ (9.1%); Boston, MA (7.7%); Los Angeles, CA (7.6%); Jersey City, NJ (5.7%); San Francisco, CA (5.6%); and Baltimore, MD (5.3%).

Source : APTA

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