Americans' Growing Ride of Choice: Public Transit

Ridership was up 2.3% from 2010

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 12, 2012 7:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – If you think the subway has felt extra crowded lately, you likely aren't imagining things: Americans are hopping on public transportation more often, according to a new report out today, with the number of bus and train passengers last year reaching its second highest level since 1957. Nationwide, transit ridership was up 2.3% from 2010, to 10.4 billion trips, the American Public Transportation Association says. Vehicle miles of travel, meanwhile, dropped 1.2%.

The number of subway riders was up 3.3%; bus ridership was up as well, about 0.4%, the Washington Post notes. "People are really flocking to transit," says the president of the association, noting that in some large cities, ridership is "outpacing employment." He credits improved rail lines, buses, and trains; high gas prices are also likely contributing to the trend. Another transit-boosting factor? Apps. "The exponential growth of apps to track bus and rail arrival times is demystifying the ridership experience and attracting new customers to public transportation," he says.

A man checks his cell phone on a subway platform in the Union Square station of the L line on September 27, 2011 in New York.
A man checks his cell phone on a subway platform in the Union Square station of the L line on September 27, 2011 in New York.   (Getty Images)
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