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  1. #1
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    10.3 Billion Trips Taken On Public Transportation Ridership In 2007

    So no one takes the bus ?

    Time to start funding this great volunteering effort.

    http://www.apta.com/media/releases/080310_ridership.cfm
    10.3 Billion Trips Taken On Public Transportation Ridership In 2007 -- The Highest Level in 50 Years; Ridership Increased as Gas Prices Remained High

    Transit News

    March 10 , 2008

    Virginia Miller
    (202) 496-4816
    vmiller@apta.com

    (Download In Adobe PDF format)

    The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced today that Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation in 2007, the highest level in 50 years, representing a 2.1% increase over the previous year.

    “In light of high gas prices, increased road congestion, and expanded public transit services, this continued growth in ridership demonstrates how important public transportation is for America,” said APTA president William W. Millar. “Now with gas prices predicted to rise to $4 a gallon, there is a greater urgency for higher federal funding to expand U.S. public transportation systems so Americans have an affordable transportation choice.

    “In addition, public transportation is a key part of the solution to decreasing greenhouse gases and meeting our national goal of energy independence,” concluded Millar. “When more people ride public transportation, there are more reductions in carbon emissions and our country is less dependent on foreign oil.”

    Public transportation use is up 32% percent since 1995, a figure that is more than double the growth rate of the population (15 percent) and up substantially over the growth rate for the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on our nation’s highways (24%) for that same period.

    Light rail (modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) had the highest percentage of ridership increase among all modes, with a 6.1 percent increase in 2007. Light rail systems showed double digit increases in the following areas: New Orleans (128.6%); Denver (66.2 %); Saint Louis (27.0%); Philadelphia (26.2%); Kenosha (18.5 %); the state of New Jersey (14.7%); and Memphis (11.3%).

    Commuter rail posted the second largest ridership increase at 5.5 percent. The five commuter rail systems with the double digit ridership growth rate in 2007 were located in the following areas: Nashville (257.9%); Santa Fe (96.6%); Harrisburg (41.3%); Seattle (27.4%); Oakland (14.2%); Dallas/Fort Worth (12.1%); Stockton (11.9%); Portland, ME (11.8%); and Pompano Beach, FL (10.3%).

    Heavy rail (subways) ridership increased by 3.1%. The heavy rail systems with double digit increases in ridership for 2007 were in the following cities: San Juan (13.2 %) and Atlanta (10.1%).

    Bus service saw an increase of 1.0, but in communities with a population of less than 100,000, bus services saw an increase of 6.4% in 2007. Major increases by large bus agencies occurred in the following cities: Seattle (7.5%); Denver (7.0%); and Minneapolis (5.4%).

    To see the complete APTA ridership report go to http://www.apta.com/research/stats/ridership

    For more information on public transportation’s role in climate change and energy independence, go to http://www.apta.com/research/info/online/land_use.cfm

  2. #2
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    There are a lot of urban myths surrounding public transportation. I hear all sorts: too slow, terrible routes, too many dodgy people, no one uses it, too unreliable. Mostly these get tossed as soon as the individual actually investigates and starts riding. I see a lot of people waiting for the bus each morning.

  3. #3
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    The stats for Light rail didn't surprise me because this form of transit is growing by leaps and bounds. If you goto Lightrail now, you'll see why this is so and why cities are spending BILLIONS building this form of transit.

    What you're starting to see is the fallout of higher gas prices. I rented a car a month ago and could not believe how much gas I spent including its cost in relation to the distance traveled. In other words, I didn't go very far but spent close to 15 dollars traveling what would have cost me $3.00 dollars by commuter train.

  4. #4
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    I can totally believe that a lot more people have been using public transport in the last few years, because, from a purely self-interested perspective, it's a wise decision. We don't have light rail to speak of here yet, but the bus system is pretty good (I still vastly prefer the bike), and it's way, way cheaper than owning and operating a car, and much less of a hassle in many instances. An unlimited monthly bus pass costs less than the price of car insurance alone. I know people that still own cars, but still commute by bus, just because they don't want to deal with the traffic or pay for gas, and they claim that it still saves them a lot of money every month, especially the ones who get free bus passes from work. (Many employers have discovered that bus passes are cheaper than parking spots, and they can claim to be doing their part for the environment and to avoid congestion. I've noticed that senior management still gets the free parking spots, though.)
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    There are a lot of urban myths surrounding public transportation. I hear all sorts: too slow, terrible routes, too many dodgy people, no one uses it, too unreliable. Mostly these get tossed as soon as the individual actually investigates and starts riding. I see a lot of people waiting for the bus each morning.
    It depends on the area...The nearest large town to me has bus service, but it serves a very limited area and runs on a short schedule compared to larger cities. City population is 125,000 in an urban county of over 300,000 and you can't get to over 80% of the area by bus. I think the schedule is set up to cater to the welfare and social services crowd, it doesn't start running until around 6:30-7 am and is shut down by 8:30 in the evening. Kind of sucks if you happen to work shift work or have to work retail and are working until closing (typically 9pm) It is also you typical spoke system that requires you to ride into the center of town and transfer to ride back out to another location.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  6. #6
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    Madison's bus system is usable, and it gets used. During this winter, many of the routes had buses running at capacity or above. It's rather scary when there simply aren't any more places for people to stand safely, and there's still a line of people waiting to get on. To expand service, they need more buses, more gas and more drivers - and all of those *cost*.

    It's not great, since it is hub based. It is *much* better than average for a small city since there's the downtown hub and about 4 small transfer hubs around the city edge. So for some (tho not all) trips around the edge, you can take a shorter path. And most hubs are located near shopping centers or other popular destinations. The service hours are shorter than I'd like - buses stop around 12pm, which is dumb/dangerous in a college town.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    There are a lot of urban myths surrounding public transportation. I hear all sorts: too slow, terrible routes, too many dodgy people, no one uses it, too unreliable. Mostly these get tossed as soon as the individual actually investigates and starts riding. I see a lot of people waiting for the bus each morning.
    They aren't all myths. I'm recovering from a non biking injury and was riding the bus this morning (third week in a row). In downtown we picked up a rider I have affectionately nick-named "large stinky poop dude" in honor of his girth and wonderful aroma.

    The fact is that many people riding public transit (like many people biking) are near the bottom of society, not all of them have the best hygiene or health. I'm not saying they are bad people, but they do impart a certain ambiance to the enclosure of the bus.

    Personally I can't wait to get back on my bike.

  8. #8
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike2math View Post
    They aren't all myths. I'm recovering from a non biking injury and was riding the bus this morning (third week in a row). In downtown we picked up a rider I have affectionately nick-named "large stinky poop dude" in honor of his girth and wonderful aroma.

    The fact is that many people riding public transit (like many people biking) are near the bottom of society, not all of them have the best hygiene or health. I'm not saying they are bad people, but they do impart a certain ambiance to the enclosure of the bus.

    Personally I can't wait to get back on my bike.
    My experience with the bus has been mostly benign, but I have to agree that, from time to time, an unwashed poor person, usually homeless, has the nerve to get on the bus when I'm there. IMO, this is something that more people should be exposed to. If you're riding around in your SUV, or even your bike, it's easier to ignore the people you'd rather not know about.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    My local bus company boosted ridership to 10 million trips last year, in a metro area of about 300,000 people. However, voters turned down a millage proposal and the bus company decided to raise fares about 25 % rather than cut back on service. (Regular adult fares are still only $1.25 with free transfers.) I'm waitning to see if this affects usage very much. (I'm betting that it won't.)


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