Masabi published its “Mass Transit Rider Research Report: Key Factors Influencing Ridership in North America.” The report, based on a survey of over 1,000 U.S. residents with access to public transit services, sheds light on some of the behaviors impacting public transit ridership across the nation and explores the effect new technologies and new urban mobility services, such as ridesharing, are having on the mobility ecosystem.
The survey reveals that riders are combining shared private and public transit options and taking multimodal journeys in greater numbers than expected. It also shows that their primary driver for using public transit is convenience and, as such, technologies including mobile ticketing and vehicle location tracking are having a positive effect on ridership numbers.
Key findings include:
Public transit remains underutilized
- 70% of Americans drive themselves on at least a weekly basis, while 40% never use public transit despite having access.
- Nineteen percent of respondents are using public transportation every week, with 9% now using ridesharing every week.
Citizens feel mostly optimistic about their public transit services
- Thirty-two percent report that their local transit options are improving and 49% believe they are remaining the same.
- Only 19% say the quality of their local transit is declining.
Convenience is the top priority for passengers when choosing to ride public transit
- More than price (24%), travel time (8%), and even necessity (17%), convenience is the number one motivator, with 33% of respondents selecting it as their primary reason for riding.
- Ridesharing is connecting public transit for many facilitating multimodal journeys.
- More than one-third of respondents (35%) are now combining ridesharing with public transit to reach a destination on at least an occasional basis, while 7% are combining ridesharing with public transit on at least a weekly basis.
Convenience enablers attract riders
- Up to a quarter of potential riders report that convenience features, such as combining modes of transit through an app, mobile ticketing, and location tracking, would cause, or already have caused them, to use public transit more often.
Shared mobility use increases likelihood of public transit ridership
- Eighty percent of weekly drivers never use public transit, while 95.5% of weekly rideshare riders use public transit, pointing to a future of reduced car ownership in favor of public/private urban mobility options.
“This report paints a picture of the future of public transit and how it can both learn from and operate in partnership with new mobility options, to the benefit of all,” said Brian Zanghi, CEO of Masabi. “By implementing the types of convenience features found in ridesharing and other transportation alternatives and integrating multiple transit modes to deliver full first-last mile mobility, the emerging mobility ecosystem is set to provide a viable alternative to car ownership. Getting there, however, will require public/private partnerships between the agencies and mobility services that Americans already depend on every day.”
In Q4 2017 Masabi polled 1,010 Americans who have access to, but do not necessarily ride, public transit. The full report contains a breakdown of the complete survey findings as well as recommendations for public transit agencies and officials based on the results. Masabi’s report shows that the frequency with which riders are combining services is much higher than others have shown and points to the potential for more interconnected transit systems.
To download the Mass Transit Rider Research Report here.