Americans took more than 10.8 billion trips on public transportation last year, the most in 58 years, according to figures released this week by the American Public Transportation Association.
The association dedicated to public transportation attributed the rise to expanded transportation options and an improving economy. Nearly 60 percent of trips taken on public transportation are for going to and from work, the association said.
Last year, Metro Transit provided 84.5 million rides last year, an increase of 3.1 percent over 2013. The metro area's largest agency was one of several across the country that saw record- or near record-setting ridership. That included Boston, Denver, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio., Orlando, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa. Smaller cities such as Wenatchee, Wash., Spokane, Wash., Albany, N.Y. and Madison, Wis. also saw big gains, APTA said.
Light rail ridership rose by 3.6 percent, with the Twin Cities leading the way. Last year the Green Line opened and was used 6.5 million times.
The use of public transportation came even as gas prices dropped more than 40 cents in the last quarter of 2014.
"This shows that once people start riding public transit, they discover that there are additional benefits besides saving money," said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy "“The record ridership in 2014 is a clear message to Congress that the citizens of this country want expanded public transit services."