APTA also noted transit ridership has increased in all three quarters of 2011, the first time it has done so since the fall of 2008. APTA attributed the sustained increase to several factors, including high gas prices, improved real time passenger information, and a recovering economy.
"This increase in ridership shows that Americans want more transportation choices and will use public transportation if it is available in their community," said APTA President and CEO Michael P. Melaniphy. "Also, transit agency investments are paying off, resulting in riders experiencing a higher level of quality service."
APTA noted 22 of the 27 LRT systems in the U.S. saw increased ridership, led by Dallas (DART), up 36.4%. Heavy rail ridership increased by 2.0%, with 13 out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) notching 3Q gains. Among what APTA terms “commuter” rail operations, 22 out of 27 systems saw ridership increases.
Bus ridership increased nationally by 1.4%, APTA said. Trolleybus ridership increased 3.2% in the quarter. Demand response (paratransit) increased by 2.6%.