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APTA: Public transportation ridership hits 2.7B

Posted on September 25, 2013

Nationally, nearly 2.7 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the second quarter of 2013, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Compared to the second quarter of 2012, this year’s second quarter increased by 1.2%, with nearly 31 million more trips taken from April through June. In comparison, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on U.S. roads was up by 0.5%.

“In big and small communities, demand for public transportation continues to grow,” said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Public transit ridership has increased in eight of the last 10 quarters. I anticipate that this trend of transit ridership growth throughout the United States will continue.”

In the second quarter, some cities saw ridership increases due to economic recovery, including Birmingham, Ala.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Miami; Denver; Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Ithaca, N.Y.; Houston; Hampton Roads, Va; and Seattle.

“As the local economy continues to recover, public transportation ridership continues to increase in those communities where jobs are increasing,” said Melaniphy. “Since nearly 60 percent of trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes, it makes sense that ridership goes up when employment goes up.”

To view the complete APTA 2013 second quarter ridership report, click here.

2013 Second Quarter Ridership Breakdown

Nationally, heavy rail ridership increased by 2.5% as eight out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) experienced ridership increases in the second quarter of 2013 over the same period in 2012.

The heavy rail systems with the highest increases in ridership for 2013 were in the following cities: Miami (16.8%); San Francisco (6.7%); New York (3.8%); and Philadelphia (3.7%).

Nineteen out of 28 commuter rail systems reported ridership increases as commuter rail ridership grew by 0.9%. Commuter rail ridership saw a triple-digit increase in Salt Lake City (110.1%) due to a new commuter rail line opening in December 2012. Five commuter rail systems saw double-digit increases in the second quarter including Austin, Texas (37.1%); Lewisville, Texas (30.4%); Stockton, Calif. (22.0%); Anchorage, Alaska (18.3%); and Minneapolis (15.6%).

Nationally, bus ridership rose by 0.5% from April through June of 2013, with some of the highest bus ridership increases reported in Houston (5.1%); Washington, D.C. (3.9%); Minneapolis (3.8%); and Seattle — King County Department of Transportation (2.8%).

Light rail ridership decreased by 0.5% in the second quarter, as 14 out of 28 light rail systems reported an increase in ridership from April through June 2013. Light rail systems saw double digit increases in the second quarter in two cities: Hampton, Va. (21.4%) and Denver.

Paratransit ridership decreased in 2013 by 0.5% and trolleybus ridership decreased by 0.9%.

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