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Public Transportation Hits Highest Ridership in 57 Years

Last year, a record 10.7 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation.
March 12, 2014

​WASHINGTON, D.C. – In 2013, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation, which is the highest annual public transit ridership number in 57 years, according to a report released this week by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This was the eighth year in a row that more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems nationwide. While vehicle miles traveled on roads (VMT) went up 0.3% in 2013, public transportation use increased by 1.1%.

“As the highest annual ridership number since 1956, Americans in growing numbers want to have more public transit services in their communities,” said Peter Varga, APTA Chair and CEO of The Rapid in Grand Rapids, Mich., in a press release. “Public transportation systems nationwide — in small, medium, and large communities — saw ridership increases. Some reported all-time high ridership numbers.”

Some of the public transit agencies reporting record ridership system-wide or on specific lines were located in the following cities: Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cleveland; Denver; Espanola, N.M.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Fort Myers, Fla.; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; New Orleans; Oakland, Calif.; Pompano Beach, Fla.; Riverside, Calif.; Salt Lake City; San Carlos, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; Yuma, Ariz.; and New York City.

Since 1995, public transit ridership is up 37.2%, outpacing population growth, which is up 20.3%, and vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which is up 22.7%.

“There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities.  People in record numbers are demanding more public transit services and communities are benefiting with strong economic growth,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Access to public transportation matters. Community leaders know that public transportation investment drives community growth and economic revitalization.”