Rail Transit Ridership Rose Slightly in 2015

Public transportation ridership in the United States fell 1.3 percent last year, but rail ridership posted slight increases.

The American Public Transportation Association said that during 2015 light-rail ridership rose 0.4 percent while heavy-rail ridership increased 0.2 percent.

APTAAPTA said 12 out of 28 public transit agencies reported increases in light-rail ridership while 10 of the 15 heavy-rail system had increased ridership.

Helping lead the way in heavy-rail ridership was Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, whose heavy-rail ridership rose 3.8 percent.

However, RTA’s light-rail ridership fell by 6.1 percent in 2015 when compared with 2014’s performance.

Light-rail ridership in Buffalo, New York, rose 21.4 percent compared with 2014.

Nationally, commuter-rail ridership was flat in comparison with 2014. Ridership in 2015 across all modes of public transit declined to 10.6 billion trips compared with the record of 10.8 billion trips recorded in 2014

In a news release, APTA attributed the ridership decline to lower gas prices, saying that on average every 10 percent drop in gas prices leads to a 1.8 percent decrease in public transportation use.

The trade group also said that increased fares may have been a factor in the decline as well.

Fares increased 4.8 percent in 2015 to an average of $1.96 per trip compared with the national average of $1.87 in 2014.

The APTA report said the Cleveland RTA’s heavy-rail ridership in 2015 was an estimated 6.4 million compared with 6.2 million in 2014.

Light-rail ridership was an estimated 2.6 million compared with 2.7 million in 2014.

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