More than 2.7 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the second quarter of 2014, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association
(APTA) — a 1.1% increase over the same quarter last year, representing an increase of 30 million more trips. Public transportation ridership outpaced urban vehicle miles traveled (VMT) which grew at 0.97% for this quarter.
Noting that in five of the last eight quarters, ridership on U.S. public transportation has increased, APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy said, "Public transportation ridership continues to grow nationally, showing that federal investment in public transit is paying off. With greater travel options, peoples' lives improve and communities grow."
MetroRail, the commuter rail line for Austin, Texas, reached record ridership for the second quarter. Its ridership has quadrupled since it was launched in 2010. With the new light rail system that opened in April 2013 in Denver light rail ridership reached record numbers with an increase of 8.1% in the second quarter. Seattle's five year old light rail line saw another record quarter with a quarterly ridership increase of 17%, marking 20 consecutive quarters of double digit growth.
Ridership reached record numbers in several systems across the country. For example, Capital District Transportation Authority (Albany, N.Y.), Spokane Transit (Spokane, Wash.) and Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (Canton, Ohio), saw quarterly record ridership numbers, as did San Mateo County's commuter rail line Caltrain (San Carlos, Calif.). New York’s Long Island Rail Road saw the highest ridership for the month of June since June 2008 when gas prices were very high.
Ridership increases were due to a number of factors including high gas prices and recovering local economies. Nationally, the average cost of a gallon of gas in the second quarter was $3.75.
Nationally, heavy rail ridership increased by 3.2%; light rail ridership increased by 2.8% in the second quarter of 2014; commuter rail systems increased by 3.1% in the second quarter; bus ridership decreased nationally by 1.2%, although in cities with populations of less than two million, bus ridership increased; demand response (paratransit) increased in the second quarter of 2014 by 2.2%; and trolleybus ridership decreased by 3.8%.
To view APTA’s ridership report, click here.