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Public Transit Ridership Hits 52-Year High: an Opportunity to Improve and Invest in Public Transit

By • Mar 18th, 2009 • Category: Rail and Public Transits, Videos

A couple of positive public transportation statistics for 2008. According to a recently published ridership report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Americans took public transportation to an all-time record of 10.7 billion trips in 2008. That’s 29.3 million trips per day on public transportation and a 4 percent increase over 2007. It was also a modern ridership record that has not been seen since 52 years ago (1956).

At the same time, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) on American roads dropped by 3.6 percent in 2008 compared to the previous year. Here’s a video courtesy┬áCNN, March 9, 2009.

It was no surprise to see ridership increase when gasoline passed the 4 dollar mark last year in some places, but ridership kept growing toward the end of the year when gas prices actually dipped below an average of $2 per gallon. So people are still getting on the buses and trains and leaving their cars at home.

Whether this is a permanent shift in Americans’ driving habits or just a temporary downturn until the economy turns around, one thing is clear. This is the time to grab the opportunity and invest, build and modernize our public transit system. It’s a great opportunity because it has clearly shown that the American public are willing to ride public transit if safe, convenient, and affordable services are available. The $8.5 billion provided by the stimulus package will help, but the government should provide even more funding to ensure the momentum is not lost. It’s a favorable scenario for public transit growth.

The sad part in all of this is the many people who are not taking public transit because they don’t have a job to go to. But that’s a topic for another day.

So are you doing your part and ride public transit? What’s not working in public transportation in your area? Share your public transit riding stories with us.

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is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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