Mass transit surge: Most riders since 1957

As gasoline prices rise above $4 a gallon, more Americans are turning to mass transportation systems.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Kenneth Musante, CNNMoney.com staff writer

How important is being green to you?
  • Very
  • Somewhat
  • Not at all

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation last year, marking the highest ridership level since 1957, according to a new study.

The rate of ridership continued to climb at a quarterly rate of 3.3% through the first three months of 2008 to 2.6 billion, according to research from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). That's nearly 85 million more trips than the same period last year, the APTA said.

"There's no doubt that the high gas prices are motivating people to change their travel behavior," said APTA president William Millar, in a statement.

The number of riders on trolleys and streetcars rose 10.3% in the first quarter of 2008, while the number of commuter rail riders grew 5.7%, according to APTA data. Ridership on subways, elevated trains and buses also increased.

"People are looking at the gas prices and they're making a choice," said Joe Calderone, spokesman for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), a commuter rail system in Long Island, New York.

The LIRR, which recently hiked fares, has seen ridership increase 5.4% during the first 4 months of 2008, compared with the same period a year ago.

Last year the LIRR served 86.1 million riders, the most since 1949, according to Calderone.

The average price of gasoline nationwide crossed the $4 a gallon mark last Sunday, and the price of regular gasoline is now over $4 a gallon in more than half of the states in the country, according to a daily survey from automobile group AAA.

In a survey released last month by IBM's Institute for Electronic Government, a total of 31% of commuters who normally drive to work said they would change their transportation habits if gas were to cross $4 a gallon.

IBM also found that a total of 66% of drivers would seek other means of transportation if gas hits $5 a gallon. To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
2015 Mustang's asphalt-peeling power goes modern The new Ford Mustang has been upgraded and updated to compete globally - but never fear, it's still a monster. More
15 top executives with $1 salaries Some CEOs and founders agree to salaries of just $1 a year. But once goodies like bonuses and stock options are added in, some of those executives end up taking home many millions of dollars a year. More
Mercedes SL65 AMG: 621 horses of topless power Turn heads as you blow by traffic in this roadster convertible from Mercedes. More


Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.