On Oct. 4 in New Orleans, APTA released a newly updated report making the case for investment in the public transportation industry by detailing the enormous growth in ridership, service provided, and funding levels. The report, The Case for Business Investment in Public Transportation, demonstrates that public transit has undergone steady growth over the past three decades and is now a $55 billion industry.
The report shows that America’s public transit systems completed more than 10 billion passenger trips for the fifth consecutive year in 2010, the highest levels since 1957. It also presents support for better public transportation through public approval of transit ballot measures, which have a 73 percent approval rate over the past 12 years.
The report cites consistent, diverse, and stable sources of funding for public transportation.
“These local, state, and federal investments help us to put Americans to work building the rail tracks and equipment that will move America’s economy forward,” said Charles Wochele, chair of the APTA Business Member Board of Governors and vice president for industry and government relations at Alstom Transport.
The increase in ridership has led to dramatic growth in the number of rail systems and vehicle replacements. The number of rail systems increased more than two and one-half times since 1980, from 10 commuter rail systems in 1980 to 28 by 2010. The number of light rail systems increased five-fold, from seven in 1980 to 35 in 2010.
“This report shows that the growth trends in public transportation makes investing in the industry a smart business decision,” said Jeffrey Wharton, chair of APTA’s Business Development Committee and president of IMPulse NC.
The report is available here.
Public Transportation Ridership Continues to Rise
Another APTA report, also just released, found increased ridership for all major modes of public transportation despite the continuing economic downturn. Heavy rail and light rail saw the largest increases in the first six months of 2011 with increases of 3.8 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.
“There is strong support for public transportation nationwide and the uptick in our 2011 ridership figures is a reflection of this,” said APTA President William Millar.
Nationally, bus ridership rose slightly in the first six months of 2011, but ridership increased by 4.8 percent in communities with a population below 100,000 and by 4 percent in communities with populations ranging from 100,000 to 499,999.
Demand-response increased in the first six months of 2011 by 3.6 percent.
To see the complete APTA ridership report, click here.