December 21, 2009
Check the classifieds in this issue for information about numerous managerial and supervisory positions!
Transit Ridership Numbers Reflect Economic Situation
With high unemployment, significant decreases in gasoline prices, and less state and local revenue available for public transportation operations, U.S. public transit ridership declined by 3.8 percent in the first nine months of 2009 compared to record levels in the same period last year. Trip numbers on all major modes—bus, light rail, heavy rail, and commuter rail—declined; paratransit (demand-response) and trolleybus, however, saw increases.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment accelerated monthly from January through September 2009, reaching 9.8 percent in September. This is 58 percent higher than the unemployment rate for September 2008.
“Nearly 60 percent of riders take public transportation to commute to and from work,” said APTA President William Millar, “so it is to be expected that public transit ridership would be lower when unemployment is high.”
Public transit system budgets also have felt the serious impact of decreases in local and state funding; in many cases, this has led to service reductions and/or higher fares.
Light rail (streetcars, trolleys) declined by less than 1 percent during the first nine months of 2009, while ridership on heavy rail (subways) declined by 3.0 percent. Commuter rail ridership decreased by 5.1 percent over the first three quarters of the year. The national average for bus trips declined by 5.0 percent. Each area reported some increases and some decreases. For more details, go to the complete APTA ridership report here.