Public transportation ridership surged in the first quarter of 2012, as Americans took nearly 2.7 billion trips, an increase of 5% over the first quarter of last year, according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This was the fifth consecutive quarter of U.S. public transit ridership increase, as 125.7 million more trips were taken than the first quarter of 2011.
All public transit modes saw increases and several saw significantly high increases. Light rail use increased by 6.7% and heavy rail use increased by 5.5%. Some public transit systems throughout all the areas of the U.S. reported record ridership for the first quarter.
“High gas prices were part of the reason for this large first quarter ridership increase,” said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. “More and more people are choosing to save money by taking public transportation when gas prices are high.
The report’s findings were touted at the General Session of APTA’s Annual Rail Conference in Dallas by Melaniphy and FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo.
“As Congress is negotiating a federal surface transportation bill that is now more than 2 1/2 years overdue, our federal representatives need to act before the June 30 deadline to ensure that public transportation systems will be able to meet the growing demand,” said Melaniphy. “It’s obvious from the surge in public transit ridership in the first quarter that Americans need and want public transportation.”
To view the report, click here.