APTA: State of the public transportation industry

Posted on January 18, 2012

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President/CEO Michael Melaniphy examines the needs and trends facing the public transportation industry in his 2012: State of the Public Transportation Industry article published in the January 16, 2012 Passenger Transport issue.

Melaniphy pointed out that more and more people are pro-transit, as evidenced by the overwhelming support for public transportation ballot initiatives since 2000.

“Americans believe in public transportation and want to invest in it — both Democrats and Republicans alike,” said Melaniphy. “What is significant is that more people now understand and embrace the importance of public transportation.”

In the "2012: State of the Public Transportation Industry," Melaniphy addressed the significant amount of investment that is required to address the backlog of capital needs ($78 billion) and to meet growing demand ($60 billion annually). He also referred to a 2011 APTA report that surveyed the recession’s impact upon the business members. The results were sobering — 74% of the respondents had incurred flat or declining business in the previous year.

Melaniphy noted that many public transportation systems and private sector businesses were hit hard by the economic recession, but there were signs that the economy improved in 2011.

“Despite severe financial challenges, public transit ridership rose for the first three reported quarters in a row in 2011 — for the first time in three years,” said Melaniphy. “Perhaps public transportation, as a lagging indicator, is showing that the economy is starting to come back — nearly 60 percent of the trips on public transportation are taken for work commutes.”

Long-term trends such as a growing population, transit-oriented development, the aging of America, and the interest in public transportation and the environment by younger generations all signal that demand will grow for public transportation in the future. Along with these trends, the increased use of technology by public transit systems is making riding on a bus or train more attractive.

“Technology is taking public transportation to the next level,” said Melaniphy. “Technology is demystifying and transforming the rider experience…. No one has to wonder when the next bus or train will arrive.”

With all these trends in favor of expanding public transportation, he stressed the importance of Congress acting quickly to pass a long-term, well funded, multi-year surface transportation bill.

“Passing federal legislation in 2012 must be the number one priority of the industry,” said Melaniphy. “Short-term extensions are stifling our industry, both public and private sectors, and they are not a sustainable solution. We need to plan for the future to maintain and expand public transportation in the years to come.

“Having a long-term, stable funding plan is critical to our private sector members, as well, if we expect them to hire staff and invest in new capital,” he said.

Melaniphy concluded, “Now, as we look ahead together, it is time to recommit to a vision of expanded public transportation that will give our country what is important: good, green jobs; a strong and competitive economy; and a better quality of life for riders and non-riders alike.”

To read the 2012: State of the Public Transportation Industry go to:


View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

FTA issues guidance on how transit agencies can implement ADA

To enhance understanding of the Act, the new circular offers a user-friendly, one-stop resource on its requirements.

CTED workshop to focus on ADA requirements, small bus inspections

The course is instructed by Halsey King, a well renowned speaker and writer on maintenance and technology issues, that includes repair, inspection and management of vehicle fleets.

S.D. council softening stance against raising paratransit fares

The about-face came just six days after an internal audit of the city's public transportation system was released to the council. In it is a recommendation to raise paratransit rates to $2.50 a ride from the $2 fee riders have paid since 1996.

AC Transit, BART celebrates ADA's 25th anniversary, new paratransit office

Since the ADA’s signing in 1990, AC Transit and BART have worked to ensure disabled residents are able to enjoy the many benefits of public transportation. The two agencies joined together in 1994 to form the East Bay Paratransit Consortium.

Chicago Pace's draft budget includes paratransit shortfall

A paratransit fare increase may be proposed to fill the gap; however, Pace Executive Director T.J. Ross acknowledged it would be very difficult for those riders to absorb.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close