Nearly 8 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the first nine months of 2016, according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).  This is a 1.6 percent decrease over the same period last year, representing 125 million fewer trips.

APTA Acting President and CEO Richard A. White said, “With a substantial drop in gas prices, some people may have returned to driving.  However, considering the cost of owning and maintaining a car, public transportation still offers an economical way to save money.”

The average price of gas during the first nine months was $2.22, a drop of 15 percent.  On the East Coast, prices were 35 cents cheaper than during the same time period in 2015 and on the West Coast, gas prices  were 53 cents cheaper.

APTA’s most recent Transit Savings Report shows that an individual in a two-person household can save $9,738 by living with one fewer car.

Beyond gas prices, there are local factors that can impact ridership that vary from place to place.

2016 January – September Ridership Breakdown:

Nationally, light rail ridership increased by 4.3 percent in the first nine months of 2016 with 14 of 28 systems reporting increases.  Light rail systems in the following cities saw double digit increases from January – September in 2016: Seattle, WA (55.0%); Houston, TX (17.1%); Baltimore, MD (15.1%); New Orleans, LA (12.5%); and Phoenix, AZ (12.1%).  Other light rail systems showing increases in ridership were located in the following cities:  Los Angeles, CA (7.4%); Newark, NJ (6.5%); Portland, OR (6.4%); Boston, MA (5.7%); Philadelphia, PA (5.5%); San Francisco, CA (4.7%); Charlotte, NC (2.4%); Minneapolis, MN (0.2%); and Tampa, FL (0.2%).

Ridership on commuter rail systems increased by 1.7 percent in the first nine months of 2016 as 13 of 28 systems reported increases.  Commuter rail in the following cities also saw double digit increases: Portland, ME (24.0%) and Seattle, WA (11.1%).  Other commuter rail systems showing increases in ridership were located in the following cities:  Harrisburgh-Philadelphia-Penn DOT (9.2%); Oakland, CA (5.5%); Anchorage, AK (4.6%); Stockton, CA (4.2%); New York, NY-MTA Long Island Rail Road (3.9%); San Carlos, CA (2.3%); Nashville, TN (1.7%); New York, NY-MTA Metro-North Railroad (1.1%); New Haven, CT (0.4%); Chicago, IL (0.3%); and Pompano Beach, FL (0.1%).

Overall, heavy rail ridership decreased by 0.6 percent in the first nine months of 2016 with six of 15 systems reporting increases. Cities with heavy rail systems showing the highest percentage of increases were located in the following cities: Lindenwold, NJ (6.1%); Jersey City, NJ (3.9%); New York, NY-MTA Staten Island Railway (2.2%); San Francisco, CA (1.2%); Boston, MA (0.8%); and New York, NY-MTA New York City Transit (0.1%).

Nationally, bus ridership in all sized communities decreased by 3.5 percent.  Bus ridership in urbanized areas with a population of one million or more decreased nationally by 3.2 percent from January-September 2016, with eight of 38 systems reporting ridership increases.  The system in Detroit, MI showed a double digit increase of 12.4 percent.  Other large bus systems showing increases in ridership were located in the following cities: San Francisco, CA (8.8%); Houston, TX (1.5%); Boston, MA (1.2%); Seattle, WA (1.0%); New York, NY-MTA New York City Transit (0.6%); Pittsburgh, PA (0.5%); and Milwaukee, WI (0.2%).

Demand response (paratransit) increased from January-September in 2016 by 1.1 percent.  Trolleybus ridership increased by 3.3 percent in the same period.

To see the complete APTA ridership report go to: http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2016-q3-ridership-APTA.pdf​

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.  

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