AMERICANS RIDING PUBLIC TRANSIT IN RECORD NUMBERS
Yahoo News, 10 March 2014
Americans are boarding public buses,
trains and subways in greater numbers than any time since the suburbs began
Nearly 10.7 billion trips in 2013, to
be precise – the highest total since 1956, according to ridership data reported
by transit systems nationally and released Monday by the American Public
Transit ridership has now fully
recovered from a dip caused by the Great Recession. With services restored
following economy-driven cutbacks, ridership numbers appear set to continue
what had been a steady increase.
"People are making a fundamental
shift to having options" aside from a car in how they get around, said
Michael Melaniphy, president and CEO of the public transportation association.
"This is a long-term trend. This isn't just a blip."
Expanding bus and train networks help
spur the growth.
Ridership on Los Angeles County
Metropolitan Transportation Authority light-rail trains increased six percent
over 2012, as the public took advantage of an expanded network of lines.
Overall, LA Metro gained nine million trips to reach 478 million in 2013, the
transportation association said. Among the other transit systems in California
with record ridership was the Caltrain commuter rail service that connects San
Francisco with Silicon Valley.
Houston, which has been more notable
for its sprawl than its public transportation offerings, had a large ridership
gain. So did Seattle, Miami, Denver and San Diego. The New York area's behemoth
transit network saw the greatest gain, accounting for one in three trips
Transit advocates argue that the
public increasingly values the ability to get around without a car. They offer
as evidence the nation's urban shift and the movement to concentrate new
development around transit hubs.
"People want to work and live along transit
lines," Melaniphy said. "Businesses, universities and housing are all
moving along those corridors."