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Fast Co: Public transit riders – HIGHEST in 60 Years

LOL!  CarFree – your time has come!!!

FC:  The American Public Transportation Association’s latest figures, released today, show that more Americans used public transit in 2013 than at any time in nearly 60 years. That amounts to a whopping 10.65 billion passenger trips, beating the previous record in 1956 and a more recent peak in 2008, when gas cost more than $4 a gallon and 10.59 million trips were taken.

This time around high gas prices aren’t the main reason, and the trend is more about a basic shift in attitudes about how people travel in their cities, as well as a generally strong urban economy. Michael Melaniphy, president of the advocacy group, told the New York Times:

“Now gas is averaging well under $4 a gallon, the economy is coming back and people are riding transit in record numbers,” Mr. Melaniphy said in an interview. “We’re seeing a fundamental shift in how people are moving about their communities.”

From 1995 to 2013, transit ridership rose 37 percent, well ahead of a 20 percent growth in population and a 23 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled, according to the association’s data.

Cities should be paying attention, especially as many aim to attract young people to live and work in their borders. Young people traveling more often at “off-peak” times accounted for some of the increases seen over the last year, the New York Timesreported. Public transit agencies reporting the biggest ridership increases included those in smaller cities, such as Ann Arbor, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Flagstaff, Arizona; andRiverside, California.

These are all reasons for cities to invest more in subways, buses, and rail systems though that is sure to raise the hackles of dedicated drivers. It may pay to note, however, more than 70% of transit tax efforts succeeded in the last two years, according to the association.

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