News

U.S. posts record mass-transit use

U.S. posts record mass-transit use

GET ON THE BUS, GUS: 2013 marked the highest level of ridership since 1956,. Photo: clipart.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans took a record 10.7 billion trips on public transportation last year as an increase in urban living, costlier fuel, more investment and an economic upturn helped drive ridership, an industry group said on Monday.

2013 was the eighth straight year in which more than 10 billion trips were taken on U.S. public buses, subways, commuter rail and streetcars, the American Public Transportation Association(APTA) said in a report.

2013 marked the highest level of ridership since 1956, it said.

“It’s all about, if you build it, they will come. The investment pays off,” APTA President and Chief Executive Michael Melaniphy said in a telephone interview.

Melaniphy said the increase in part reflected increased investment in public transit by the federal government, along with that by states and cities which want to attract new businesses and workers.

The U.S. trend toward urban living and walkable cities also is behind the upturn in ridership. A surge in ridership that came in 2008 when gasoline and diesel prices spiked has continued even though the cost of fuel has fallen, Melaniphy said.

“People are coming and staying,” he said. The upturn in the U.S. economy also means more people commuting to work.

Since 1995, public transit ridership has risen 37.2 percent.

The increase has outpaced a 20.3 percent rise in population and a 22.7 percent upturn in vehicle miles traveled, the report said.

Among transport sectors, ridership for heavy rail, or subways and elevated trains, was up 2.8 percent last year. Commuter rail rose 2.1 percent.

Light rail, or streetcars and trolleys, experienced a 1.6 percent increase in ridership. Buses overall saw a 0.1 percent fall, though ridership in cities with less than 100,000 population rose almost 4 percent.

Cities with the largest increases in ridership included:

– Salt Lake City, which saw a 103.3 percent in commuter rail traffic after the opening of a new line in December 2012;

– Austin, Texas, with a 37.3 percent rise in commuter rail use;

– Miami, with an increase of almost 11 percent in heavy rail use, largely because of increased frequency during peak hours;

– and New Orleans, with a 29 percent rise in light rail use.

Release of the report coincided with the APTA Legislative Conference in Washington, which is aimed at helping shape federal and industry policy.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Chris Francescani and Jonathan Oatis)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

rainman

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in National

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.

in National

Time for Iran to make tough decisions in nuclear talks

In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Six world powers and Iran move closer to a deal, but there are still major disagreements.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

AP564917773040_12

A look at some of the biggest plays and best photos in sports this week.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

playball

A look at some of this weekend's biggest sporting events.