Public Transit Ridership Fell 2.9% in 2017

Public transportation ridership fell in the United States last year by 2.9 percent to 10.1 billion trips compared with 2016 figures the American Public Transportation Association said.

Heavy rail ridership fell 2 percent to 3.8 billion trips while light- and commuter-rail ridership held steady.

There were 497 million commuter rail trips last year and 548 million light rail trips, marking 0.19 percent and 0.83 percent decreases, respectively.

Ridership on light-rail lines increased at 11 of the 29 transit systems. Bus ridership nationally fell 4.3 percent to nearly 5 billion trips.

APTA said there are four broad factors that adversely affected public transit ridership, including declines in time competitiveness, declines in cost competitiveness, a drop in rider loyalty and other external factors beyond transit agencies’ control.

“While we are in a time of great change, in part due to technological innovations, public transit remains a critical part of any community’s transportation network,” said APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas. “Public transportation organizations are revamping their services and experimenting with pilot projects to be more time and cost competitive, and more customer focused to meet the needs of today’s riders and the growing population.”

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