Public Transportation Ridership up in 2006

Public transportation ridership has increased by nearly 3 percent in the first nine months of 2006, as Americans took 7.8 billion trips on public transit, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

“Even as gas prices declined, more and more people decided to ride public transportation as ridership grew by nearly 3 percent in the first nine months of 2006,” said APTA President William W. Millar. “This continued increase in transit ridership demonstrates that when people have transportation choices, they use them.”

Light rail (streetcars, trolleys, heritage trolleys, and modern light rail) had the highest percentage of growth among all modes of transportation with an increase of 5.4 percent.

The areas reporting double digit increases in light rail ridership were: Salt Lake City, Utah (23.3 percent); Minneapolis, Minn. (22.6 percent); New Jersey (16.3 percent); Philadelphia, PA (11.9 percent); and Sacramento, Calif. (10.0 percent). Light rail ridership that almost achieved double digit increases included Buffalo, NY (9.2 percent) and Houston, Texas (9.0 percent).

Commuter rail, which grew by 3.2 percent from January through September 2006, showed the largest increases in the following areas: Harrisburg, Penn. (12.1 percent); Chesterton, Ind. (12.0 percent); Miami, Fla. (11.7 percent); Dallas, Texas (11.3 percent); and New Haven, Conn. (9.9 percent).

Heavy rail (subways) ridership increased in the first nine months of 2006 by 2.8 percent. The largest increases in heavy rail were: Boston, Mass. (12.9 percent); Los Angeles, CA (12.2 percent); Jersey City – Port Authority of NY/NJ (9.9 percent); and Staten Island, N.Y. (9.5 percent).