APTA: 56% of summer travelers will use public transportation

Posted on May 22, 2013

New York City subway image courtesy NYCgo.com/ Joe Buglewicz
New York City subway image courtesy NYCgo.com/ Joe Buglewicz
The American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) annual “Travel Like a Local” Summer Travel Survey shows around 56% (70 million) of those visiting cities plan on using public transportation for at least one activity during their stay. APTA notes that the improved economy is the reason for the increase in travel to cities.

The five most popular cities for travel this summer are New York, Miami, Chicago, Orlando and San Francisco.

The survey found a majority in all age groups will take public transportation while on their city trip, but Millenials (18-24) are most likely to use public transportation while on vacation, with 73% reporting yes. Major motivators for using public transportation included not having to worry about finding a parking space (73%), saving money on parking fees (69%) and not having to navigate a car within a new city (64%).

“City visitors can experience more of the local culture and hustle-and-bustle of city life by taking public transportation alongside local residents,” said APTA Chair Flora Castillo. “We are offering guidance to help tourists get around like the locals do. We hope that this effort will be a fun way to remind residents and tourists that public transportation systems are not just a great way to get from point A to point B, but also unique, cultural institutions that shape our urban landscapes and reflect the nation’s diverse communities.”

Forty-nine million city vacationers will use public transportation to sightsee and for restaurant dining and nightlife, 47 million will travel to and from their place of lodging, and 42 million will take public transportation to travel to and from the airport during their visit.

According to the survey, a growing number of individuals with incomes over $75,000 will rely on public transportation during their trip to a city and those traveling from all regions, including the South and Midwest will use public transportation during their city stay. A majority of travelers with children (62%) will use public transportation during their city visit.

“With the economy on the rebound, cities are becoming a more attractive destination for the summer because they are close by and have a wide array of amenities,” said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. “A growing number of travelers are discovering that one of a city’s greatest asset is its local public transportation system. These travelers are saving money while taking advantage of the local systems’ high-frequency routes which are designed to stop at the most popular spots and attractions a city has to offer.”

As the number of Americans headed to a city on vacation continues to increase, APTA is issuing a series of insider tip guides for vacationers traveling to some of the top city destinations. These tips will provide insight into local public transit idiosyncrasies, unspoken protocols, and tips to help vacationers to travel like a local and avoid public transit faux paux.

The APTA 2013 “Travel like a Local” Summer Travel Survey was conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence and includes 1,003 interviews using a Random Digit Dial sample of both landline and cell phone numbers. At the 95% confidence level, the margin of error is +/-3.2 percentage points.

RELATED ARTICLE: Check out, "Five Questions: APTA's Flora Castillo."

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