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 Transit News



 Public Transportation Ridership Up Significantly During 1st Quarter 2006


4.25% Increase; Nearly 2.5 Billion Trips on Transit Nationwide

Public transportation ridership in the United States grew by 4.25% in the first quarter of 2006, compared to the same period in 2005, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) today.

"This significant rise in transit ridership shows that more and more Americans are choosing the affordability and convenience of public transportation," said APTA President William W. Millar. "The high price of gas, coupled with expanded transit service, has made public transportation attractive to a growing number of Americans in small and large communities across the country."

The report showed nearly 2.5 billion trips taken on public transportation in the first quarter of 2006 and all modes of public transportation showed ridership increases.

Light rail (modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) had the highest percentage of increase among all modes, with an 11.2% increase in the 2006 first quarter. Some of the highest areas reporting the highest increases in light rail ridership had opened new services over the past year. The light rail systems in the following areas showed double digit increases: San Jose (27.3%); Minneapolis (26.0%); Philadelphia (18.0%); San Diego (17.3%); Buffalo (16.7%); Sacramento (14.9%); Los Angeles (13.4%); New Jersey (12.7%); and Memphis (10.4%).

Ridership on buses posted the second largest increase at 4.5% nationwide. The report breaks down bus agencies into four categories based on population and bus ridership in each of these categories shows bus ridership increases. Bus ridership in a population group of more than 2 million showed a 4.0% increase. In the second category of 500,000 to 1,999,999, bus ridership climbed by 4.2%. In areas with a population range of 100,000 to 499,999, the bus ridership increased by 6.8% and in the smallest areas with a population below 100,000, the ridership showed the largest increase at 7%.

The largest bus agencies showing double digit increases were located in the following cities: Detroit (18.7%); San Antonio (14.9%); Dallas (13.8%); Houston (10.8%); and Seattle (10.1%).

Commuter rail showed the third highest national ridership increase for the 2006 first quarter with an increase of 3.4%. The top five commuter rail systems with the highest ridership increases for 2005 were located in: Oceanside, CA (13.2%); Dallas (10.9%); Chesterton, IN (10.2%); Philadelphia (8.2%); and New Haven (7.9%).

Demand response (paratransit) increased by 3.7%, followed closely by heavy rail (subway) which increased by 3.2%. The areas with largest heavy rail ridership increases were: Los Angeles (16.4%); New York area services - Staten Island (13.7%) and the PATH system (11.9%); Chicago (6.6%); Washington, D.C. (6.1%); Miami (4.8%); and San Francisco (4.5%).

Trolleybus ridership increased by 2.1% and all other modes increased by 2.9% in the 2006 first quarter.

See the complete Ridership Report.

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