Public transportation ridership surged in the first quarter of 2012, as Americans took nearly 2.7 billion trips, an increase of five percent over the first quarter of last year, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association. This was the fifth consecutive quarter of U.S. public transit ridership increase, as 125.7 million more trips were taken than the first quarter of 2011.
All public transit modes saw increases and several saw significantly high increases. Light-rail use increased by 6.7 percent and heavy rail use increased by 5.5 percent. Some public transit systems throughout all the areas of the United States reported record ridership for the first quarter.
“High gas prices were part of the reason for this large first quarter ridership increase,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “More and more people are choosing to save money by taking public transportation when gas prices are high.
“As we look for positive signs that the economy is recovering, it’s great to see that we are having record ridership at public transit systems throughout the country. In some regions of our nation, the local economy is rebounding and people are commuting to their new jobs by using public transportation,” Melaniphy stated, noting that nearly 60 percent of trips taken on public transit are for work commutes.
He added, “As Congress is negotiating a federal surface transportation bill that is now more than two and a half years overdue, our federal representatives need to act before the June 30 deadline to ensure that public transportation systems will be able to meet the growing demand. It’s obvious from the surge in public transit ridership in the first quarter that Americans need and want public transportation.”
To see the complete APTA 2011 ridership report, go to: