In the second quarter of 2010, more than 2.5 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation as ridership increased by 0.1 percent over the second quarter of 2009, according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The uptick in ridership is the first increase in six quarters.
"History shows that as the economy grows, public transit ridership tends to increase. This rise in ridership offers a glimmer of hope that we may be coming out of the economic recession and ridership will continue to move upward," said APTA President William Millar, who also pointed out that nearly 60 percent of trips are taken on public transportation for commuting to and from work.
Previous to this quarter's ridership increase, public transit use had declined in the past five quarters due to high unemployment, the economic recession, and lower state and local revenue for public transportation, according to APTA.
"September 30 is the one-year anniversary of the expiration of the last federal surface transportation legislation that funded public transportation," said Millar. "Congress needs to act as soon as possible to pass a new multi-year surface transportation authorization bill so that we can move forward in improving our public transportation systems for the millions of people who depend on their services every day."
Sixteen out of 28 light rail systems reported an increase in ridership for the second quarter of 2010 as light rail ridership increased nationally by 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010. Light rail systems in five cities saw double-digit increases in the second quarter:
Meanwhile, 11 out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) experienced ridership increases from April through June of 2010 over the same period in 2009, with heavy rail ridership increasing nationally by 2.2 percent. Thirteen out of 27 commuter rail systems also reported ridership increases.
Bus ridership decreased nationally by 1.7 percent. The top increases among large bus systems for the second quarter of 2010 were reported in Saint Louis (15 percent) and Philadelphia (3.8 percent). Small bus systems with populations below 100,000 also saw an increase (3.1 percent), while demand response (paratransit) increased in the second quarter of 2010 by 1.6 percent.
To see the complete APTA ridership report, click here.