Transit group: Public transportation ridership increases tied to US economy

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“Public transportation not only enables people to get to work, but development around public transit helps to create an economically prosperous community,” he continued. “In some areas of the country, local and regional economies are rebounding, and not surprisingly, public transit ridership is up in regions where jobs are increasing and employment is up.”

APTA said ridership records were set in the second quarter of 2012 by public transit systems in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, Mich.; Boston; Fort Myers, Fla.; Lewisville, Texas; Oklahoma City; Olympia, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; and San Carlos, Calif.

APTA found that the highest gains in public transit ridership were on traditional “heavy” rail subway systems with fixed tracks like Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail and newer mostly street-level light-rail systems. Light-rail use increased 4.3 percent and heavy-rail use was up 2.5 percent, according to the APTA study.

Melaniphy noted that the transit ridership gains occurred as gas prices decreased.

“Even though gas prices declined in the second quarter, more people decided to take public transportation,” he said. “This goes to show that there is a growing public demand for public transportation services and the next Congress and president must address this issue.” 

The full APTA report can be read here.