Nationally, 2.6 billion trips were taken on public transportation in the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 2% or nearly 52 million trips over the same quarter last year, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Ridership in all public transportation modes increased, led by light rail which increased by 5.8%.
It is also the first time in three years that ridership has increased for all three quarters, according to APTA. The ridership increase is attributed to a number of factors including high gas prices, improved real time passenger information and a recovering economy.
"This increase in ridership shows that Americans want more transportation choices and will use public transportation if it is available in their community," said APTA President/CEO Michael P. Melaniphy. "Also, transit agency investments are paying off, resulting in riders experiencing a higher level of quality service."
Nationally, heavy rail ridership increased by 2%. Thirteen out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) experienced ridership increases in the third quarter of 2011 over the same period in 2010. Likewise 22 out of 27 light rail systems reported an increase in ridership for the third quarter of 2011. Overall, light rail increased by 5.8% in the third quarter of 2011.
Additionally, 22 out of 27 commuter rail systems reported ridership increases and overall commuter rail increased by 2.7%, while bus ridership increased nationally by 1.4%.
Demand response (paratransit) increased in the third quarter of 2011 by 2.6% and trolleybus ridership increased by 3.2%.
To see the complete APTA ridership report, click here.