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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Virginia Miller
(202) 496-4816

 Ridership on Public Transportation Continues to Rise in 2011

 Increase of 85.7 million trips in the first six months

Nationally, 5.2 billion trips were taken on public transportation in the first six months of 2011, an increase of 85.7 million trips (1.7%) according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) at its 2011 annual meeting and EXPO in New Orleans.  All major modes of public transportation saw increases, despite the fact that the economic downturn continues.  Heavy rail and light rail saw the largest increases in the first six months with increases of 3.8 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.

“There is strong support for public transportation nationwide and the uptick in our 2011 ridership figures is a reflection of this,” said APTA President Millar. “Now is the time for our country to invest more in public transportation and prepare for the larger demand that will occur when the recession ends.”

January – June 2011 Ridership Breakdown

Nationally, heavy rail ridership increased by 3.8 percent and 12 out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) experienced ridership increases in the first six months of 2011 (January – June) over the same period in 2010.  The heavy rail systems with the highest increases in ridership for 2011 were in the following cities: San Juan, Puerto Rico (21.2%); Cleveland, OH (17.2%); Baltimore, MD (10.0%); Boston, MA (8.8%); Miami, FL (6.4%); San Francisco, CA (5.4%); and Lindenwold, NJ/Port Authority Transit Corporation (5.3%).

Light rail ridership increased by 3.7 percent in the first six months of 2011, as 18 out of 27 light rail systems reported an increase in ridership from January through June of 2011. Light rail systems in seven cities that saw double digit increases in the first half of the year were: Seattle, WA/ King County Department of Transportation (42.1%); Dallas, TX (32.3%); Philadelphia, PA (17.4%); New Orleans, LA (15.2%); Buffalo, NY (14.1%); Oceanside, CA (11.6%); and Baltimore, MD (10.4%). 

From January through June 2011, 23 out of 27 commuter rail systems reported ridership increases and commuter rail ridership grew by 1.0 percent.  Commuter rail in one city saw a triple digit increase due to new service, and four cities saw double digit increases in the first six months of 2011:  Austin, TX (221.4%), Nashville, TN (38.5%); Portland, OR (23.7%); Oceanside, CA (17.1%); Alexandria, VA/VRE (16.2%); and Salt Lake City, UT (11.9%).  Commuter rail systems showing nearly double digit increases were located in the following cities: Portland, ME (10.0%); Albuquerque, NM (9.5%); Stockton, CA (9.4%); Oakland, CA (9.2%); and Pompano Beach, FL (9.0%). 

Nationally, bus ridership rose slightly in the first six months of 2011 but ridership increased by 4.8 percent in communities with a population below 100,000 and by 4.0 percent in communities with populations ranging from 100,000 to 499,999.  Some of the highest bus ridership increases in large cities were reported in the following cities: Miami, FL (10.0%); Orlando, FL (9.8%); Saint Louis, MO (8.9%); Columbus, OH (8.9%); Baltimore, MD (7.5%); Washington, DC (7.1%); San Diego, CA (6.4%); San Antonio, TX (6.4%); and Hampton, VA (5.4%). 

Demand response (paratransit) increased in the first six months of 2011 by 3.6 percent.

To see the complete APTA ridership report go to:

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.

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