More than 7.9 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the first three quarters of 2012 as ridership increased by 2.6% over the first three quarters of 2011, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This report shows that 201 million more trips were taken in the first nine months of 2012 than in the same time period in 2011.
“With seven consecutive quarters of ridership increases, it’s obvious that public demand for public transit is growing,” said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. “As Congress works to resolve our country’s deficit problem, it also needs to work to resolve the transportation deficit. Otherwise public transit and highway funding will be facing an annual $15 billion shortfall in the next 10 years.”
Some of the cities experiencing economic improvements and public transit ridership increases in the third quarter of 2012 include: Grand Rapids, Mich.; Seattle; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Phoenix; San Francisco; Los Angeles; and Riverside, Calif.
All major modes of public transportation increased from January through September this year. Light rail and heavy rail saw the largest increases in the first nine months with increases of 4.2% and 3.6%, respectively.
Nationally, heavy rail ridership increased by 3.6% and 12 out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) experienced ridership increases in the first nine months of 2012. The heavy rail systems with the highest increases in ridership for the first nine months of 2012 were: Cleveland (10.8%); San Francisco (7.4%); Chicago (4.9%); Baltimore (4.4%); and New York (4.4%).
Light rail ridership increased by 4.2% from January through September, as 22 out of 28 light rail systems reported increases in ridership. Hampton, Va. experienced a triple digit increase due to new service. Light rail systems saw double digit increases in the first three quarters in five cities: Memphis, Tenn. (33.7%); Salt Lake City (19.7%); Los Angeles (13.7%); Pittsburgh (13.5%); and Seattle (11.2%). Other light rail systems with increases were in the following cities: Sacramento, Calif. (6.8%); Boston (6.2%); Houston (6.1%); and Seattle (5.5%).
Nineteen out of 28 commuter rail systems reported ridership increases and commuter rail ridership grew by 2.4% in the first three quarters of 2012.
Nationally, bus ridership rose by 1.8% from January through September of 2012, with 28 out of 37 large bus systems reporting increases. Some of the highest bus ridership increases in large cities were reported in: Saint Louis (8.6%); Arlington Heights, Ill. (5.3%); Newark, N.J. (5.2%); and Oakland, Calif. (5.0%).
Demand response (paratransit) increased by 3.6%.
To see the complete APTA ridership report, click here.