Increases in Transit Ridership Overthrowing Assumptions About Why We Ride

A recent report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) shows transit ridership increasing to historic levels. The surprise is that the increase occurs as gas prices have fallen.

The news of increased transit ridership around the nation has attracted a lot of attention this week. “In 2013 Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation, which is the highest annual public transit ridership number in 57 years,” explained APTA in a statement announcing the report’s findings.

First, J. Green writes of the “fundamental shift” those numbers represent: “Since 1995, the U.S. population has grown 20 percent, but public transit use has increased 37 percent, while VMT is only up 23 percent. Public transit use has increased far faster than population growth while VMT has largely mirrored population growth.”

Jon Hurdle shares one of the implications of transit’s growing popularity: “The ridership in 2013, when gas prices were lower than in 2008, undermines the conventional wisdom that transit use rises when those prices exceed a certain threshold, and suggests that other forces are bolstering enthusiasm for public transportation…”

Meanwhile, in Houston, some cold water, where Dug Begley reports that Houston’s transit ridership is not growing at pace with the rest of the country.

Full Story: Record 10.7 Billion Trips Taken On U.S. Public Transportation In 2013


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