Public Transit Ridership Down in 3rd Quarter 2018

The American Public Transportation Association said that there were 2.5 billion trips on public transportation systems during the third quarter of 2018, which was down 1.75 percent compared with ridership in third-quarter 2017 ridership.

Year over year, rail ridership was down on heavy- and light-rail systems, but up by 0.7 percent  on commuter-rail systems.

In a news release APTA said more than half of commuter railroads posted ridership increases in the third quarter.

“In order to increase mobility options, public transit systems are increasing frequency, improving routing, experimenting with fare changes, and engaging in partnerships to offer the best service possible to meet customers’ needs,” said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas.

Commuter railroads logged a combined ridership of 126.6 million trips during the third quarter, with 18 of 31 them reporting increases.

Commuter-rail systems that logged double-digit ridership increases in the quarter included Orlando, Florida, (70 percent); San Rafael, California, (65.8 percent); and Stockton, California, (10.5 percent).

Ridership on heavy-rail systems (subways and elevated trains) fell 2.4 percent to about 916.3 million trips in the quarter compared with a year ago. Increases were registered in Philadelphia (7.8 percent); San Juan, Puerto Rico (6.4 percent); Miami (5.9 percent); Atlanta, (1.4 percent); and Lindenwold, New Jersey (0.1 percent).

On light-rail systems (modern streetcars, trolleys and heritage trolleys), ridership in the quarter dipped 3.6 percent to 133.2 million trips compared with the year-ago period. However, ridership grew in only eight out of 27 systems. Agencies that reported double-digit light-rail ridership gains were Charlotte, North Carolina, (55.3 percent); Seattle-King County Metro (21.6 percent); Hampton, Virginia, (11.5 percent); and Houston (10.8 percent).

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