September 18, 2012

Public transportation ridership up in 2nd quarter

Nearly 2.7 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the second quarter of 2012 as ridership increased by 1.6% over the second quarter of 2011, according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This was the sixth consecutive quarterly increase.

All major modes of public transportation increased. Light rail and heavy rail saw the largest increases in the second quarter with increases of 4.3% and 2.5% respectively. Some public transit systems throughout all areas of the U.S. reported record ridership for the second quarter, including in the following cities: Ann Arbor (Mich.), Boston, Fort Myers (Fla.), Grand Rapids (Mich.), Lewisville (Texas), Oklahoma City (Okla.), Olympia (Wash.), Portland (Ore.), and San Carlos (Calif.).

“Since nearly 60 percent of the trips taken on public transportation are work commutes, public transit is a vital service for cities and towns nationwide,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Public transportation not only enables people to get to work, but development around public transit helps to create an economically prosperous community.

“In some areas of the country, local and regional economies are rebounding, and not surprisingly, public transit ridership is up in regions where jobs are increasing and employment is up,” said Melaniphy.
Some of the cities experiencing public transit ridership increases as their local economy improves includes: San Francisco (and the Bay area), Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Salt Lake City, Denver, Boston, Chicago, and Phoenix.

Pointing out that gas prices declined in the second quarter, Melaniphy said, “Even though gas prices declined in the second quarter, more people decided to take public transportation. This goes to show that there is a growing public demand for public transportation services and the next Congress and President must address this issue.”  

April - June 2012 Ridership Breakdown
Nationally, heavy rail ridership increased by 2.5% and 11 out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) experienced ridership increases in the second quarter of 2012 over the same period in 2011. The heavy rail systems with the highest increases in ridership for 2012 were in the following cities: Cleveland (9.9%); San Francisco (6.8%); and Chicago (4.4%).

Light rail ridership increased by 4.3% in the second quarter, as 21 out of 27 light rail systems reported an increase in ridership from April through June 2012. Light rail systems saw double digit increases in the second quarter in six cities: Memphis, Tenn. (36.7%); Salt Lake City (28.8%); Pittsburgh (21.2%); Los Angeles (13.8%); Sacramento, Calif. (13.4%); and Seattle (10.3%). Other light rail systems with large increases were in the following cities: Boston (8.0%); Phoenix (7.3%); and New Orleans (7.0%).

Eighteen out of 28 commuter rail systems reported ridership increases and commuter rail ridership grew by 1.7%. Commuter rail ridership saw a triple digit increase in Lewisville, Texas (258.0%) due to new service and saw double digit increases in the second quarter in the following cities: Austin, Texas (14.8%); Seattle (14.6%); San Carlos, Calif. (13.3%); and Stockton, Calif. (12.2%).

Other commuter rail systems showing high increases were located in the following cities: Salt Lake City (7.4%); Anchorage, Alaska (7.1%); Portland, Ore. (6.7%); Harrisburg-Philadelphia (6.2%); Baltimore (5.8%); and Los Angeles (5.8%).

Nationally, bus ridership rose by nearly one percent from April through June of 2012, some of the highest bus ridership increases in large cities were reported in: Oakland, Calif. (9.5%); Providence, R.I. (9.3%); Saint Louis, Mo. (6.7%); Long Beach, Calif. (5.2%); Arlington Heights, Ill. (4.5%); and Denver (4.5%).

Demand response (paratransit) increased in the second quarter of 2012 by 2.2%.

To see the complete APTA ridership report go to:
http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2012-q2-ridership-APTA.pdf

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