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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Public transit ridership continues climb through 2006's first three quarters

Despite declining gas prices, public transit ridership continued to rise. During 2006’s first nine months, U.S. public transit agencies collectively posted 7.8 billion passenger trips, a 3 percent increase compared with the same 2005 period, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Light-rail ridership rose 5.4 percent. Agencies posting the largest gains include Utah Transit Authority, up 23.3 percent; Minneapolis’ Metro Transit, 22.6 percent; New Jersey Transit, 16.3 percent; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, 11.9 percent; and Sacramento Regional Transit District, 10 percent.

In the commuter-rail segment, ridership increased 3.2 percent. Leading the pack: the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Harrisburg service, up 12.1 percent; Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, 12 percent; South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, 11.7 percent; and Trinity Railway Express, 11.3 percent.

Finally, heavy-rail ridership rose 2.8 percent, with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey posting the largest gains at 12.9 percent, 12.2 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/5/2007