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American Public Transportation Association

 Media Advisory

 4/4/2006

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 Public Transportation Ridership Up In 2005

 

9.7 Billion Trips Taken; Light Rail Continues to Have Highest Percentage of Growth

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) today announced that people took more than 9.7 billion trips on U.S. public transportation systems in 2005, with public transportation growing at a faster rate than highway travel (1.3 % vs. 0.1%). Since 1995, public transportation use increased 25.1% -- faster than the rate of highway vehicle miles traveled (22.5%).

"The ridership growth over the past 10 years demonstrates that Americans want transportation choices and will often leave their cars behind when quality public transit services are available," said APTA President William W. Millar. "Last year's 9.7 billion trips on public transportation benefit our entire nation by reducing congestion, improving air quality and conserving foreign oil. In fact, use of public transit is the single quickest way most Americans can beat the high cost of gasoline."

Light rail (modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) had the highest percentage of increase among all modes, with a 6.0% increase in 2005. Some light rail systems showed double digit increases in ridership: Minneapolis (168.9%); Houston (38.0%); New Jersey (17.8%); Salt Lake City (13.3%); Sacramento (12.8%); and Los Angeles (10.5%).

Ridership on commuter rail posted the second largest increase at 2.8%. The top five commuter rail systems with the highest ridership increases for 2005 were: San Carlos, CA (12.5%); Chesterton, IN (7.3%); Harrisburg (6.7%); Philadelphia (5.4%); and New Jersey (5.3%).

Other modes saw modest increases in ridership. Heavy rail ridership increased by 2.3%, despite work stoppages in Philadelphia and New York City. Demand response (paratransit) ridership increased by 2.5% and transit bus ridership increased 0.4% in 2005. However, there were major increases by some large bus agencies in the following cities: Minneapolis (14.5%); Dallas (7.5%); the Pace system in suburban Chicago (7.4%); and San Antonio (5.8%).

Trolleybus ridership decreased by 1.9% in 2005.

See the complete Ridership Report.

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