Report: 10.4 billion trips taken on public transit in 2011

Posted on March 12, 2012

Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation in 2011, the second highest annual ridership since 1957, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA),

Only ridership in 2008, when gas rose to more than $4 a gallon, surpassed last year's ridership. With an increase of 2.3% over the 2010 ridership, this was the sixth year in a row that more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems nationwide. During 2011, vehicle miles of travel (VMTs) declined by 1.2%.

"U.S. public transportation ridership in 2011 is now the second highest ridership since 1957," said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. "What is exciting is that the uptick in ridership occurred in large, medium and small communities, showing the broad support that public transportation has nationwide. In fact, the largest rate of growth was in rural communities with populations under 100,000 where public transit use increased by 5.4 percent."

Noting that the increased use of passenger information technology is also contributing to higher ridership, Melaniphy said, "The exponential growth of apps to track bus and rail arrival times is demystifying the ridership experience and attracting new customers to public transportation. More and more people are now able to find out when the next bus and train will arrive through public transit apps. This is making public transportation more attractive."

To see the complete APTA 2011 ridership report, click here.

The overall national breakdown includes:

  • Light rail (modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) ridership up 4.9%.
  • Heavy rail (subways and elevated trains) ridership increased by 3.3%.
  • Commuter rail ridership increased by 2.5%.
  • Large bus systems reported an increase of 0.4%.
  • Demand response (paratransit) ridership increased by 3.2%.
  • Trolley bus ridership increased by 1.2%.


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