News

U.S. posts record mass-transit use

U.S. posts record mass-transit use

GET ON THE BUS, GUS: 2013 marked the highest level of ridership since 1956,. Photo: clipart.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans took a record 10.7 billion trips on public transportation last year as an increase in urban living, costlier fuel, more investment and an economic upturn helped drive ridership, an industry group said on Monday.

2013 was the eighth straight year in which more than 10 billion trips were taken on U.S. public buses, subways, commuter rail and streetcars, the American Public Transportation Association(APTA) said in a report.

2013 marked the highest level of ridership since 1956, it said.

“It’s all about, if you build it, they will come. The investment pays off,” APTA President and Chief Executive Michael Melaniphy said in a telephone interview.

Melaniphy said the increase in part reflected increased investment in public transit by the federal government, along with that by states and cities which want to attract new businesses and workers.

The U.S. trend toward urban living and walkable cities also is behind the upturn in ridership. A surge in ridership that came in 2008 when gasoline and diesel prices spiked has continued even though the cost of fuel has fallen, Melaniphy said.

“People are coming and staying,” he said. The upturn in the U.S. economy also means more people commuting to work.

Since 1995, public transit ridership has risen 37.2 percent.

The increase has outpaced a 20.3 percent rise in population and a 22.7 percent upturn in vehicle miles traveled, the report said.

Among transport sectors, ridership for heavy rail, or subways and elevated trains, was up 2.8 percent last year. Commuter rail rose 2.1 percent.

Light rail, or streetcars and trolleys, experienced a 1.6 percent increase in ridership. Buses overall saw a 0.1 percent fall, though ridership in cities with less than 100,000 population rose almost 4 percent.

Cities with the largest increases in ridership included:

– Salt Lake City, which saw a 103.3 percent in commuter rail traffic after the opening of a new line in December 2012;

– Austin, Texas, with a 37.3 percent rise in commuter rail use;

– Miami, with an increase of almost 11 percent in heavy rail use, largely because of increased frequency during peak hours;

– and New Orleans, with a 29 percent rise in light rail use.

Release of the report coincided with the APTA Legislative Conference in Washington, which is aimed at helping shape federal and industry policy.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Chris Francescani and Jonathan Oatis)

Latest Headlines

5 hours ago in Local

Maine Man Charged With Raping Woman, 73, Pleads Not Guilty

generic gavel

A Maine man has pleaded not guilty to charges he broke into a 73-year-old woman's home and raped her at gunpoint

9 hours ago in Local

Phish’s Drummer, Barney Frank to Stump for Sanders, Clinton

Maine Democrats - Final Logo White (JPG)

Former Rep. Barney Frank and the drummer of the band Phish are going to speak on behalf of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at the Maine Democratic Party's convention.

9 hours ago in Local

Portland Mayor: City didn’t know about Portland Pirates move

Portland_Pirates.svg

Portland's mayor says the city didn't know that the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League were planning to leave Maine for Springfield, Massachusetts.

9 hours ago in Local

Maine Mom Charged in Baby’s Death to get Mental Evaluation

1/22/16 FAIRFIELD, Maine -- Kayla Stewart, 20, is charged with murder in the death of her infant son. Somerset County Jail Photo.

A Maine woman charged in the death of her newborn son will be placed in the state's custody for a mental competence review.

9 hours ago in Local

National Park Service Director Coming to Maine

MAINE FLAG

The director of the National Park Service is coming to Maine for a public meeting on a proposal to create a national monument in the state.

Tweets

  • 4h
  • 8h
  • 8h
  • 8h
  • 12h
  • 31h
  • 34h