Mass transit ridership increases despite cheaper gas
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced today that Americans continue to ride public transportation at record levels even though gas prices declined. 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 the nation’s highways declined in the same period by 4.6 percent according to the Federal Highway Administration.
Last year 10.3 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation – the highest number of trips taken in fifty 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 for a gallon of gasoline, 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.
Commuter rail ridership grew by 6.3 percent. The commuter rail systems with double digit ridership growth were located in the following areas: Albuquerque (35.8%); Pompano Beach, FL (32.9%); New Haven (32.2%); Portland, ME (29.6%); Oakland (26.1%); Stockton, CA (22.5%); Seattle (22.4%); Harrisburg/Philadelphia (21.7%); Dallas (18.8%); Los Angeles (17%); and San Carlos, CA (16.4%).