Transit ridership rises in second quarter

Commuters walk to their subway August 29, 2011 in New York City.

If you commute to work this morning, how are you getting there? The American Public Transportation Association says lots more of us are taking the bus or the train, according to its latest transit ridership report.

  • In the second quarter of 2012, nearly 2.7 billion trips were taken on public transportation -- up 1.6 percent from the same time last year
  • The largest increases were seen in light rail and heavy rail, although all major modes of public transportation saw a bump
  • Nationally, bus ridership rose by almost 1 percent between April and June of this year, with some of the highest increases reported in cities like Oakland, Calif., Providence, R.I., and St. Louis, Mo.

Michael Melaniphy, CEO of the APTA, sees a direct connection between a rise in jobs and the rise in ridership. "What we're seeing across the country is, as jobs are coming back, people are flocking to transit; using that as their mode of transport." he says.

Rising gas prices might have been a contributing factor for why people have switched to transit. But Melaniphy is quick to point out that gas prices fell 50 cents in the second quarter, but many riders decided to stick around.

Curious how your state commutes based on the latest census data? Click through the interactive map below.


About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.
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We want to alert everyone to the need to fight the public-private partnerships happening in public transportation. We see these partnerships taking hold as a small part of the overall system but the plans are to expand and privatize the whole system.
Why is that bad? Public transportation was dubbed the most democratic public policy of the 20th century. It allows people to live where they want to live and it allows a subsidy that keeps fairs low enough for everyone to travel when they need to without agonizing over cost. As lower income people are displaced outside the city's center, they will be further marginalized by a lack of transportation opportunities if these corporate politicians have their way.

What these privatizers have in mind is a transportation system that to be profitable must have routes that are most efficient. So they won't go where you live; you will live where they go. They will only go where developers want the lower income people to live. Next they intend to see that it is affordable only to travel for work. Forget trips into the city on weekends or transit to the county park.

We need to stand firm with a strong public transportation system as it will be even more important to have low cost and convenience as we work to turn this political and economic environment around.

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