WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 28, 2022) – According to APTA’s Ridership Trends Dashboard, the public transportation industry saw ridership rebound to more than 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels in September, a continuation of an upward trend reflective of a nation emerging from the pandemic.
“Public transit agencies suffered catastrophic blows to ridership when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March 2020. Systems saw significant declines in ridership as offices closed and Americans were urged to work from home for extended periods. But now, as we see more workers return to the office, more students return to school, and more community destinations such as restaurants, theaters, and retail stores reopen their doors, agencies from coast-to-coast are seeing a rise in ridership,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “Throughout the course of this pandemic, transit systems have provided mobility to essential workers and earned riders’ trust every day by remaining vigilant about their health, safety, and cleaning protocols as new variants of the coronavirus continued to emerge. Even though workers in many cities continue to work from home, at least on a part-time basis, we are seeing steady growth in ridership and are optimistic those trends will continue. As the latest data shows, public transportation continues to move people and shape the future of our communities.”
The COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate and significant impact on public transportation ridership. Ridership declines began in mid-March 2020, coinciding with stay-at-home emergency orders in many cities and states across the country. Ridership declined to a low point of 10 to 40 percent of pre-pandemic levels in many cities. After falling to 20 percent of pre-pandemic levels in April 2020, ridership has recovered to more than 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels. This rise in ridership is reflective of transit agencies adapting to the swiftly changing needs of their communities while delivering safe, reliable service.
APTA’s Ridership Trends Dashboard helps the public transit industry track ridership trends in real time. This tool, built in partnership with the Transit app, allows APTA members and the public to compare ridership between agencies, regions, and national trends. The Ridership Trends Dashboard combines APTA’s ridership report data with app usage information from Transit to predict ridership levels each week, with new data posted each Monday. The Ridership Trends dashboard has weekly predictions going back to January of 2020 and includes ridership trends for 130 agencies.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public- and private-sector organizations which represent a $80 billion industry that directly employs 448,000 people and supports millions of private sector jobs. APTA members are 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.