APTA: Public transportation ridership surged in first quarter of 2012

Public transportation ridership surged in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 5 percent over the first quarter of last year, according to a report released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This marks the fifth consecutive quarter of U.S. public transit ridership increase, as 125.7 million more trips were taken than in the first quarter of 2011.

“High gas prices were part of the reason for this large first quarter ridership increase,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “More and more people are choosing to save money by taking public transportation when gas prices are high.”

All public transit modes saw increases and several saw significantly high increases. Some public transit systems reported record ridership for the first quarter, including Boston, Indianapolis, New York and San Diego.
“As we look for positive signs that the economy is recovering, it’s great to see that we are having record ridership at public transit systems throughout the country,” said Melaniphy. “In some regions of our nation, the local economy is rebounding and people are commuting to their new jobs by using public transportation.”

Melaniphy noted that nearly 60 percent of trips taken on public transit are for work commutes.

To see the complete APTA 2011 ridership report, go to www.apta.com.