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Public transit ridership increases across nation

The American Public Transportation Association says Americans took 10.4 billion trips on subways, light rail systems, buses and commuter trains in 2011.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A billion more people nationwide took public transportation last year than in 2000, according to a transportation advocacy agency.

The American Public Transportation Association said Americans took 10.4 billion trips on subways, light rail systems, buses and commuter trains in 2011.

It was the second-highest annual ridership on public transit since 1957.

“Two top reasons for the increased ridership are higher gasoline prices and, in certain areas, a recovering economy with more people returning to work,” said APTA President Michael Melaniphy.

“Since 60 percent of trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes, it’s not surprising to see ridership increase in areas where the economy has improved,” Melaniphy said.

The nonprofit said ridership on public transit was up 2.4 percent from the prior year.

“The largest rate of growth was in rural communities with populations under 100,000, where public transit use showed an increase of 5.4 percent,” Melaniphy said.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or phone at 718-260-4536.

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