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Rail News: Passenger Rail

APTA report: Transit ridership declined at slower rate in Q1


In the first quarter, nearly 2.5 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems, down 2.7 percent compared with first-quarter 2009 ridership, according to a report released yesterday by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

However, ridership declined at a slower rate than fourth-quarter 2009, when ridership fell 3.8 percent vs. fourth-quarter 2008.

“High unemployment impacts public transit use since nearly 60 percent of trips are work-related commuter trips. Additionally, public transportation service is funded by state and local revenue, both of which have declined due to the economic recession," said APTA President William Millar in a prepared statement. "But we are encouraged that light-rail service, as well as bus systems serving smaller communities, increased overall.”

Ten out of 29 light-rail systems reported a ridership gain in the first quarter while systems in Portland, Ore., Phoenix, and Seattle registered double-digit increases. Overall, light-rail ridership increased 1.5 percent from the same period in 2009, according to APTA.

Meanwhile, three out of 15 heavy rail systems — Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles — reported ridership increases, but heavy rail ridership overall fell 1.5 percent.

Seven out of 27 commuter-rail systems reported ridership gains. However, national commuter-rail ridership declined 3.1 percent vs. the same period last year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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