AMERICAN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION
Public transportation ridership in the third quarter of 2011 increased 2 percent over 2010. Over 51 million more trips were taken on public transportation in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. Ridership increased across all modes. Improving regional economic conditions, higher gas prices, and new service extensions all contributed to the increase.
In Boston, public transit ridership increased across all modes at nearly a 5 percent rate. The employment picture in the metro area is improving and service has been increased on the Orange Line in response to increasing ridership. Riders also cite improved access to real‐time arrival information for buses and trains as reasons to pick public transit over other modes.
In Dallas, a new light rail extension opened in December 2010. A new commuter rail line opened in April 2011 that connects riders from outer suburbs to light rail. Many riders with long commutes may be switching to public transit to avoid high gas prices. Both of these projects are driving ridership on the light rail system, where trips are up 36 percent. Strong economic and population growth in the metro area is also fueling transit ridership increases.
In the San Francisco bay area, public transit systems are seeing ridership increases across the board. An improving economic picture and increasing employment is contributing to more riders on public transportation, with ridership on BART up six percent. Commuter rail lines Altamont Commuter Express and Caltrain saw large increases as people with longer commutes moved to public transit in order to avoid higher gas prices.
In Phoenix, transit ridership has increased over 12 percent. A strong economy and increasing employment has pushed ridership beyond expectations on the light rail system. New development projects around light rail stations have pushed interest in expanding the system. The FTA recently awarded New Starts funding to a 3.1‐mile extension of the light rail system. Increased public transportation ridership may prove to be a sign of strengthening economies in several regions around the country. As more Americans return to work, public transportation serves as an economical part of their daily lives.
About the American Public Transportation Association
“To strengthen and improve public transportation, APTA serves and leads its diverse membership through advocacy, innovation and information sharing. APTA and its members and staff work to ensure that public transportation is available and accessible for all Americans in communities across the country.”