Metro ridership is up. Bus ridership is down. What gives? Photo by Teo.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released their ridership numbers for the first quarter on Monday, and there’s some very interesting news for D.C. and for the nation.
Let’s start at the national level. Total transit ridership is down 1.2% from the first quarter of 2008. That sounds like bad news, except by comparison with the 1.7% decrease in vehicle miles traveled. In other words, it appears the recession has caused people to drive less more than it has negatively affected the use of public transit. APTA further points out that this is true even despite lower gas prices than a year ago, a factor that would ordinarily shift commuters back into their cars.