Transit Ridership Soars—for Now

Plummeting gas prices haven't driven us back to cars ... but now fewer have jobs to commute to
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2008 12:56 PM CST
Passengers board a RTD bus in downtown Denver.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Dramatic increases in public transportation ridership have outlived sky-high gas prices, but the souring economy could reverse the trend, USA Today reports. Nationwide, third-quarter ridership was up 7% compared to last year, spurred by $4-a-gallon gas in July. Some municipalities saw almost 20% more commuters on their trains and buses. But people without jobs don't need any form of transportation for commuting.

“Even though gas prices are falling, Americans tried public transit and many find it convenient,” said the president the American Public Transportation Association, which released the numbers. Still, the economic downturn could take its toll. “If you don't have a job, I don't care if gas prices are $9 a gallon or 9 cents a gallon,” one local transportation official said. “You are not going to be riding.”