APTA: Transit ridership spikes despite lower gas prices

Posted on December 8, 2008

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced that Americans continue to ride public transportation at record levels even as gas prices decline.

More than 2.8 billion trips were taken on public transportation in the third quarter of 2008 — an increase of 6.5 percent over the third quarter of 2007. This is the largest quarterly increase in public transportation ridership in 25 years. Meanwhile, vehicle miles of travel (VMT) on U.S.highways declined in the same period by 4.6 percent, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

“The record increase in public transportation trips demonstrates the exceptional value of public transportation in today’s economy,” said APTA president William W. Millar. “The fact that public transit ridership surged while gas prices and highway travel declined, shows a growing demand for more bus and rail services.”

Last year, 10.3 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation — the highest number of trips taken in 50 years. In the first quarter of 2008, public transportation continued to climb and rose by 3.4 percent. In the second quarter of 2008, as gas prices rose to more than $4 a gallon, public transit ridership increased by 5.2 percent. The third quarter transit ridership increase of 6.5 percent continued the trend of more and more Americans turning to public transportation in record numbers.

To see the complete APTA ridership report go to http://www.apta.com/research/stats/ridership

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