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During the first nine months of 2015, rail ridership in the United States logged small increases, while the number of public transportation trips fell 1.2 percent over the same period in 2014, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced last week.Nearly 8 billion trips were taken across all modes of U.S. public transportation in the first nine months of last year, representing 95.6 million fewer trips compared with 2014 figures, according to APTA's third-quarter ridership report.Falling gas prices may have led some people to return to driving, APTA officials said in a press release, noting that the average price of gas during the period was $2.42 a gallon.However, heavy-rail ridership inched up 0.3 percent, with 11 of 15 systems reporting increases. Cities that reported increased heavy-rail ridership included Cleveland (3.7 percent), San Francisco (3 percent), Philadelphia (1 percent), and Atlanta (0.8 percent).Light-rail ridership rose 0.3 percent during 2015's first three quarters, with eight of 27 systems logging increases. Three cities experienced double-digit increases in this category: Minneapolis (59.4 percent); Buffalo, N.Y. (25.6 percent); and Houston (19.5 percent).Overall, ridership on commuter railroads climbed 0.2 percent from January through September 2015.
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