Public Transit Ridership Highest In 52 Years

See, here’s some good news to the wallet-gouging gas prices of 2008: ridership of public transportation was up to 10.7 billion trips last year, “the highest level of ridership in 52 years” according to the American Public Transportation Association. It was the fifth consecutive year that ridership increased, but it may come to an end in 2009 because of skyrocketing unemployment.

“U.S. public transit 2008 ridership highest in 52 years” [Reuters]
(Photo: Kriston Lewis)

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  1. TanKill3R says:

    Looking at that from someone that does public transit everyday, thats bad news. If you’re in the DC area and ride the metro subway, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Oh lord is it horrid now.

  2. HRHKingFridayXX says:

    I think this a generational thing as well as economic. For example, I don’t need to find the money for a car (down payment + monthly payment + maintenance + insurance + gas) because I pay about 4 dollars a day to take the metro in to work. It just makes sense for someone just starting out.

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I think public transportation works in most urban areas, but only if the system is adequate and there’s a real need from a lot of people. Until last month, I was driving to work every day because it was a 30 minute commute and catching a bus wasn’t worth it. Now my commute is about 1 hour because I’m going toward D.C. instead of away, and I bus and metro. Mr. Pi and I technically only need one car now that I’m commuting via public transportation, but that could change so we will probably always have two cars.

    You never know when your work situation may change.

    • Erwos says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: My wife commutes to work via the DC metro, too, but I drop her off at the station. She could technically take the bus there, but her commute is long enough as it is.

      Unfortunately, even as a “low-cost” option, the DC metro is fairly expensive if you’re using it during peak hours. I think my wife pays like $10 a day for her total commute, which adds up _real fast_ – probably like $2000-$2500 per year. When you factor in the extra time it takes, I’m not entirely sure she’s really saving _that_ much money over owning a car. Probably some, but the math is not nearly so good as some mass transit proponents would like to believe. *shrugs*

      • greenunicorns says:

        @Erwos: My wife also commutes to work every day on the DC metro! It seems that the reason for the high cost of taking the rail to DC is very much related to corruption/poor management of the DC Metro itself. I’ve heard that other major cities have MUCH cheaper fares AND better service.

        You’d think that in the nation’s capital, we’d have public transportation you could be proud of…

      • Tmoney02 says:

        @Erwos: Your wife should look into if her employer offers smart benifits. Some will pay for all metro costs (up to $230 a month), others will let you deduct up to $230 a month from your paycheck pretaxes. (saving you 30%+).

        If her employer doesn’t offer anything like that she might want to mention the pretaxes option. It costs very little for the company to implement but saves the employees lots of money.

    • kamel5547 says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Agreed. Working in downtown LA I take a train and subway in. Not so cheap ($238 per month) but about the sames as gas (based on $2/gallon) + parking ($210 in the building, but cheaper up the street, no free parking at all). The biggest advantage to me is being able to enjoy my commute as opposed to cursing traffic (read the and use my laptop).

      I still own a car though… no way around that in southern California in my opinion, the bus system simply isn’t good enough.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @kamel5547: And there’s a lot of convenience in having a car and knowing that if you NEED to get somewhere at 3 am (friend stranded at the airport, pet swallowed something bad and needs to go to the vet) that you have a method of transportation.

        Parking at the metro station is $4.50 a day, and driving directly into work is not an option as the garage is outrageously expensive and I’d rather not fight the traffic, and pay for the gas.

      • orlo says:

        @kamel5547: Wow, that’s expensive. European prices for unlimited travel seemed to be <$100 /month

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Sounds like you’re at the end of one of the lines, so you’re probably save a lot in rent (easily 2000/year). Parking downtown runs about 200/month, but even if you get it subsidized and pay 100/month, that’s still 1200/year. So, I highly down that adding the costs of the car (gas, ins, etc) you are paying more using the Metro (10/day, x20 days/month = 2400/year).

      Listen, I love using the Metro as a whipping boy as much as the next person, but its probably one of the nicer options considering what you get out of it.

      • Erwos says:

        @oneandone: The DC Metro is a local subway system. It’s not a long-haul passenger train system. The metro already sucks down enough money without boondoggle routes to Philly.

  4. coren says:

    Or continue to rise as people can’t afford to drive places.

    I pay about 70 every 3 months for my pass where I’d be paying 3-4 bucks at least a day in gas to and from work. Huge huge huge savings

    • ludwigk says:

      @coren: Don’t forget, the cost of gas is not the only cost for driving your car. You pay for parking, you pay for insurance, you pay for regular maintenance of your vehicle and its many consumables (fluids, wipers, tires, filters, belts, etc. etc..).

      You pay in time spent driving, emissions from your vehicle, you incremental contribution to traffic, road wear…

      Driving is subtle. Parking is subtle. Traffic is subtle. All these activities are highly complex networks with thousands of agents acting simultaneously all over the place. That’s why urban planners continue to get it wrong after thousands of years.

    • kev313 says:

      @coren: It depends on where you are…Denver charges at least $50/month, and that is if you only need local bus routes, nothing to Boulder or other neighboring cities, etc.

  5. N.RobertMoses says:
  6. cheesebubble says:

    This is great news but it’s too bad that the economy is likely the biggest reason that people are turning to public transit. Still, this generates an increased awareness about the ability to function without intense reliance on private vehicles. But I’m sure there are lots of transit systems that could use some upgrading to appeal to users even more. Even though money is tight, now is the time to address such an issue.

    • Kogenta says:

      @cheesebubble: No kidding, a lot of cities have subpar transit systems because not a lot of people were using them and no one wanted to throw money at improving a system few people were using.

      My own transit system is only good if you’re trying to get to certain areas of the city, and it’s barely been keeping up with the massive jump in ridership that’s happenned these last few years.

  7. hamburglar says:

    My own casual observation last summer in Chicago was that there were more people biking to work than I’d ever seen before. Probably a no-brainer that there will be even more people biking this year.

  8. metsarethe... says:

    And the NYC MTA wants to cut service – ouch

    • TWSS says:

      @metsarethe…: Same in Portland, OR, even though ridership is up: [trimet.org] Apparently, fares only make up a small portion of the budget, and they’re still trying to claw their way out from under the budget shortfall caused by last year’s Gasapocalypse.

  9. stpauliegirl says:

    I’m riding the bus now due to the economy: my carpool buddy got laid off.

  10. Joewithay says:

    DC Metro is still in the red despite increase ridership and increased fares from last year. So go figure…

  11. fuzzymuffins says:

    simple: metro masstransit = good. suburban mass transit = bad.

    after working/living 10 years in NYC …. and now living/working 45 min north in the burbs…. i would KILL for a good mass transit systemu up here

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      simple: metro masstransit = good. suburban mass transit = bad.

      @fuzzymuffins: Yep, yep, yep!

      I can get around where I’m living now but back where I grew up you almost never even see a bus.

  12. mikeycav says:

    The CTA and Metra in the Chicago-area have reported the same “record” increase in ridership even after recent fare increases, but still have huge deficits. Only the public sector could take the opportunity for record profit and piss it down the drain…

    • theodicey says:

      @mikeycav: Farebox revenue is only 20-50% of the budget for public transit systems.

      The majority of their budgets come from taxes which are very dependent on the state of the overall economy, like sales tax.

      So their “record profits” (whatever they are) are offset by record decreases in tax revenue.

      Almost all other developed countries fund their transit in ways that aren’t so economy-dependent

    • Dillon Barfield says:

      @mikeycav:
      The exact same situation in Boston with the MBTA

      They are billions in debt due to horrible management.

      The fare hikes are getting ridiculous too …

      January 2004, bus fares rose from 75 to 90 cents and subway fares went from $1 to $1.25.

      January 1, 2007, rapid transit trips (including rides on the Green Line) cost $1.70 for CharlieCard holders, $2.00 for CharlieTicket or cash payers. Bus and trackless trolley fares are $1.25 for CharlieCard holders, $1.50 for others.

      Now they want to increase fares another 20-25% and cut service. The quality and reliability of service has been taking a massive decline too.

      1994 fares were 85 cents
      1999 they went to $1
      (20% jump in 5 years)

      we’re looking at a 100% change for the past 5 years …

      awesome.

    • chuckv says:

      @mikeycav: You know, before the NYC transit system was regulated to the point of municipalization, it turned a profit for the three competing companies which ran the subways.

  13. giggitygoo says:

    It’s worth mentioning that in NY specifically, (and I’d imagine in other cities as well) the mass transit system does not pay for itself. It depends on the drivers who pay the extortion level tolls on the bridges and tunnels. ($10 to cross the Verrazano) If they charged high enough fares to actually pay for the system, it wouldn’t be such a great deal. (Though still likely worth it in NY)

    • Pylon83 says:

      @giggitygoo:
      I’m pretty sure the point of the “Extortion-level” tolls is not only to raise revenue, but to discourage people from driving into Manhattan. I personally favor the idea of collecting tolls to get in and out of the highest-congestion areas of the city. This has been proposed in both NYC and Chicago, and it’s a great idea. In certain areas of both cities, there is simply no reason to drive there. If you want to do so, you should have to pay out the nose.

      • Woofer00 says:

        @Pylon83: I’d counter that either the system should pay for itself or the city/state should handle subsidizing the system. The MTA in NY is constantly raising fares on passengers, but never enough to cover costs. The current proposals want to compensate through the wallets drivers who don’t use the system rather than the riders who benefit from them, by means of increasing tolls, auto registration fees, and other means. This simply isn’t a sustainable solution.
        If they really want drivers to use the subway, clean up the stations and improve service. Many drivers choose to drive because it’s faster. Even if it’s not, the solitude of a private car is greatly preferable to increasingly crowded and unpleasant trains that never arrive or travel in a timely fashion. At the moment, I can drive in from outside Manhattan in half the time it takes to ride by subway, at comparable cost. I take the subway to travel within Manhattan or if I find I have an incredible amount of spare time, but otherwise forget it.
        Don’t even get started on the idiocy that is the plan to shut down Times Square for pedestrian use.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @Woofer00: “drivers who don’t use the system rather than the riders who benefit from them”

          Uh … drivers DO benefit from the public transit system. There’s NO WAY it’s faster for you to drive into Manhattan unless buttloads upon buttloads of people are taking public transit instead of driving. You’re paying to keep them out of your way.

          Urban driving in a big city with NO public transit is an absolute nightmare and you lose days of your life every year to sitting in traffic.

          There are also environmental and health costs if everyone drives — you benefit from public transit reducing those burdens. And there are economic costs — when your city is too congested with traffic for people to get from the airport to the city center, for example, in a reasonable period of time, that airport traffic and eventually those businesses shift elsewhere. Many large Southern cities with no public transit infrastructure struggle with this, and it’s a major brake on growth.

          • Tmoney02 says:

            @Eyebrows McGee: Well written. I was dumb founded at the ignorance going on.

            I will just add, though eyebrow mcgee sort of makes this point at the end, that mass transit is necessary in order to reduce sprawl and encourage density. And density is key to having a successful large city, along with all kinds of other benefits.

          • Woofer00 says:

            @Eyebrows McGee: sorry, i should have clarified that point instead of commenting when i was half asleep – tolls are typically intended to pay for cost of building and maintaining the structure they apply to. Drivers literally paid for the route they used. Mass transit should take its own fair share of that.

            In addition, the MTA in NY somehow gets the least govt subsidization of any major urban mass transit system. At the very least, the city should give it greater funding, if not significantly greater oversight. It worked well as an independent agency for a while, but their budget starts to look increasingly corrupted with every new proposal.

            Furthermore, there were proposals to increase vehicle registration fees on the state rather than local level – should a driver in Buffalo really be assisting the NYC subway system? Seems rather odd to me.

            I don’t mind increasingly tolls on routes that come directly into Manhattan – congestion pricing under another name, but it will probably work. However, it needs to be laid out as such. For example, I couldn’t possibly support toll increases on the NY state thruuway or the tappan zee, but go ahead on the east river bridge if you want to disrupt inter-borough traffic. Just make sure it’s reasonable at $2 or so to start, not $5 as was proposed.

            • Woofer00 says:

              @Woofer00: Damned inability to edit…

              I understand the point on the need for public transportation, but the airport example doesn’t work at all for NY. Grand Central and Penn station are good examples of transportation hubs, but the airports absolutely are not. The airtrain is a nice interterminal system, but it can’t compensate for that fact that it takes about an hour just to get to the outermost station, if you’re lucky. Hate it all you want, but driving to get to the airports in NYC will remain a primary means of transportation unless subway service makes long distance travel feasible.

              Citizens unite for the return of 1/9 skip stop service!

            • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

              @Woofer00: “should a driver in Buffalo really be assisting the NYC subway system? Seems rather odd to me.”

              A common beef in Illinois, where our downstate roads need repair and our paltry mass transit systems are struggling to survive … and they want us to send a greater share of taxes to Chicago’s system. I get how important Chicago’s mass transit system is, and I’m all in favor, but it is one of those things that aggravates us downstaters. :)

      • majortom1029 says:

        @Pylon83: The verazono doesnt go to manhattan goes to staten island. Plus if your going to get off long island the only way besides boat is by going through NYC so yes it is extortion.

      • giggitygoo says:

        @Pylon83:

        Tolls for traffic management is another discussion. (If that were the case in NY, there would be tolls on the currently free Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges) Also, the Verrazano does not go into Manhattan. When the Verrazano was originally built, there was a 50 cent “temporary” toll that was put into place to pay for the bridge’s construction. (An entirely reasonable thing to do) The problem is the government broke its promise and decided to keep the toll permanently and raise it regularly to the point where it is now $10. Had a private toll road done this the company would have been sued into bankruptcy. Also, it’s just my opinion, but $10 is an unreasonable rate to pay to cross a bridge.(Which if you live in Staten Island is the only way to get a car off the island) While some subsidy might make sense, at some point one group of people (drivers in this case) should not have to pay all the bills. (And no, even in NY not everyone can take mass transit to work, even if they wanted to) Not to mention that the MTA is led by an (non-elected) appointee that has no real government oversight to speak of, but I digress.

  14. odhen says:

    I would love to save some money and not have to drive everywhere, but unfortunately that’s not an option where I live. Public Transit is available downtown and along the major streets, but not near where I work on the opposite end of town, and not near where I live.

  15. rockasocky says:

    LA’s public transportation desperately needs an upgrade. Alas, they won’t complete the subway to the sea for another 20 years or so. Seriously.

    • youbastid says:

      @rockasocky: They won’t complete the subway to the sea for about 20 years, but the expo light rail from downtown to santa monica will be completed well before then. The line from downtown to culver city is opening next summer. It’ll be nice to have to tide us over.

  16. slowinthefastlane says:

    Wake me up when enough people ride so that I don’t have to kick in my tax money to support it. Mass transit doesn’t go anywhere near my place of work, yet I pay sales, property, and income taxes to support it. It’s pretty much just car and bike for me.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @slowinthefastlane: Wake me up when enough people drive so that I don’t have to kick in my tax money to support it.

      Oh, wait, THAT’S NOT THE WAY PUBLIC GOODS WORK.

      Srsly, drivers, do you not realize how subsidized you are?????

  17. johnva says:

    @slowinthefastlane: It’s foolish to believe that mass transit SHOULD “pay for itself” without taxpayer input. Taxes (and not just gasoline taxes, so it’s not analogous to mass transit fares) go to pay for the infrastructure necessary for car transportation. The reason to have government fund mass transit is that it benefits the economy in other ways.

  18. RvLeshrac says:

    Most major cities in the US still lag far, far behind the rest of the world where mass-transit efficiency is concerned.

    The problem is the anti-mass-transit pundits who constantly rail on how mass-transit “isn’t used” and “doesn’t go anywhere you need to be” while fighting efforts to improve the scope of M-T.

    I never know whether to laugh at them or cringe, because they’ll argue that we need more road construction and, in the same breath, complain about all of the traffic delays caused by road construction.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @RvLeshrac: There’s an idiot who keeps writing to the papers (and commenting on their web sites) that no one uses the buses around here. As usual with these types he’s never actually been on the bus but has “observed that they’re empty as they drive past him”.

      I wish I could make these people take the bus to go grocery shopping so they could experience the joy of trying to hold your groceries while standing on the bus.

  19. majortom1029 says:

    I wish I had public transit to ride in.There is no direct or even remtoely indirect bus or train to take to work. There is also nop bike paths or even sidewalks so I am stuck driving.

  20. weave says:

    I’ve recently rediscovered public transit, even though I have a free reserved-parking spot at my downtown office. I get a little exercise walking out to the bus, then I get to kick back on the bus with my wireless internet access on my laptop and get a head start on the day while the bus driver deals with the traffic.

    I’m loving it.

  21. zibby says:

    @majortom1029: Too bad, sport. That’s the name of the game, whether it be taxes or tolls; I pay for those roads you use and the public schools I don’t use, welfare, etc. etc. You get no sympathy from me.

  22. ElizabethD says:

    For the first time, on weekdays when I don’t need to drive my son to school (he goes to a Catholic h.s. in the city where I work), I take the public bus. I did this during February school vacation week. I was amazed to find how much I liked it! Mostly-friendly people on board, nice drivers, and I can get a lot of reading done in a half-hour. It was so nice going two weeks between gas tank refills, too.

  23. SkiAliG says:

    I moved from the Northeast to Dallas and mentioned one day that I’d like to take public transportation to work. My coworkers actually laughed at me – the bus system here is always late, misdirected and never goes where you need it to. The rail system is about 20 years behind the city’s growth. They’re adding a new line to open next year, but it won’t connect with any of the other lines for another 2 years. It’s basically a glorified trolley.

  24. sleze69 says:

    My commute is 26 miles each way. Because I get decent mileage with my TDI, daily gas costs about $4. Although I live within walking distance to the regional train station and my job is right at the end of a bus stop, it would cost about the same to get to work (with the mass transit incentive I would get from work) but I would have to transfer 3 times and it would take about 75% longer to get to and from work.

    Unless my life circumstances change (where my fiancee and I need to get rid of a car) or Philadelphia uses the bailout money to eliminate 1 or 2 of those transfers, I won’t be using SEPTA anytime soon.

    Also, I am a bit spoiled by DC’s Metro and SEPTA pales in comparison.

    • oneandone says:

      @sleze69: SEPTA definitely pales. My biggest gripes were always the lack of rail lines within the city and the crazy long time it takes to get from 30th St to Trenton. Every time I went to visit family in NJ, it would drive me crazy. Just creeeeeping along until we finally crossed te river. Transferring onto NJ transit was such a relief – that’s how annoyed I was at SEPTA.

      On the other hand, the fact that regional rail connecting to another state exists is pretty great. Now in DC, I’m enjoying the metro but so frustrated that the rail system doesn’t connect to Philadelphia. Maybe it’s more of a Baltimore-Philly problem, but they should have a non-Amtrak train that you can take from DC to Philadelphia.

      • sleze69 says:

        @oneandone: SEPTA is rotten to the gills. At my past job, I did network administration for Granite construction, a national construction company, doing work on the EL. I was told that because of how horribly SEPTA is run, Granite has essentially blacklisted them as an organization with which it will work.

        As for DC to Philadelphia – Acela FTW!

  25. theblackdog says:

    @ErwosYour wife should see if her employer offers a transit subsidy for her to take Metro to work. If they don’t they probably should since they can write it off on their taxes (limited to $120 a month now).

    • Anonymous says:

      @theblackdog: Actually, one of the provisions of the stimulus bill was that the limit for the mass transit benefit/writeoff was increased to $230, so that it is equal to the parking benefit.

      @Erwos: Your wife should ask her employer if they subsidize metro, or if they can take money out of her paycheck before taxes to be put on a SmarTrip card (Smartbenefits). The first option will help subsidize her travel, and the second can save you a lot of money too (since you don’t get the 30%+ taken out of the amount that goes on your smarttrip.

      Also, as for the $10 a day being more expensive than owning a car, keep in mind that the equivalent cost includes gas, maintenance, and especially parking (which is $10+ a day in downtown DC)

    • Erwos says:

      @theblackdog: They do subsidize it, but not everyone gets a subsidy. I just feel it’s kind of disingenuous to claim that the system is somehow more affordable because you got someone else to pay for it. Besides, most people don’t get that sort of benefit.

      I never claimed $10 was more expensive than owning a car. I just said that it’s not saving us tons of money.

  26. nakedscience says:

    This is funny… I live in Phoenix and took public transportation for 8+ years. Exclusively (I didn’t have a car). For 8 years. In Phoenix. You know, where it gets really fucking hot? Yeah. The bus system was okay because I happened to live and work in central/downtown Phoenix.. But then I got a new job and my commute turned into almost 2 hours (two buses). And in August, THAT SUCKS. So I said screw it and got a car last August.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      But then I got a new job and my commute turned into almost 2 hours (two buses). And in August, THAT SUCKS.

      @nakedscience: I would argue that once you have to take multiple buses the suck is year round:

      When it’s really hot
      When it’s really cold
      When it’s storming (because the bus sheler, if it exists, also sucks)
      When the bus is late
      When both buses are late
      When the first bus is late but the second bus is early

      *can’t wait to get a car*

  27. failurate says:

    Our huge buses here just cruise around empty most of the time. Clogging traffic, picking up the occasional homeless person. They are a an additional welfare program, as their only riders are the ones who ride for free.
    Part of it is stigma, part of it is safety concern, and the other part is they often don’t go where people want them to go. If they worked in a more straight line fashion, people might use them, but instead they snake around town and waste time. What takes me 5 minutes to drive would take me over half an hour by bus.

  28. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    It takes me about $9 to get to and from work on a daily basis. If I only took the bus (versus bus and metro) it would take about $3. The problem is, I would have to get up an hour earlier than I already do (meaning I would have to go to bed at 10) and switch buses three times. No thanks.

  29. Subsound says:

    Each person must decide on their own. I know when I lived in Denver, Mass transit was a F***ing joke…assuming it came on time, or at all, it was safer to ride on top of the bus then in it. Even then there were very few buses that went anywhere, and the light rail just went next to the north south highway.

    Portland, OR has an pretty good transit system. They keep it pretty safe, save for the light rail, and there are buses that go anywhere you need to go within city limits. Less so as you get near the far burbs, but at least you don’t take your life in your hands for the most part.

  30. Corydon says:

    I rode Denver’s RTD to work pretty heavily last year. Now I’ve gone back to driving. Why?

    1) Gas dropped down from about $4 per gallon to $1.75.

    2) RTD in its infinite wisdom decided to raise fares (the cost of my pass went up by about 18%). So it is actually cheaper to drive to work than to take the train. This is the main reason I stopped taking transit.

    3) Traffic seems lighter now, so I don’t get stuck in a jam like I used to.

    I have ridden the train once or twice since the new year (when the cost of the pass went up). Where RTD used to have packed trains at rush hour, now you have no trouble finding a seat. Looks like they really shot themselves in the foot. Great jorb morans!

  31. sirillium says:

    Does this report account for the fact that the U.S. population continues to rise? Isn’t natural that more people are taking public transit given the fact that there are more people here?

    • oneandone says:

      @sirillium: Actually, there were more rides on public transit in the 1920s. More than 17 billion rides in the record year, which was 1927. I have no idea what the U.S. population was back then, but I assume it was much, much smaller than today’s. Many fewer people had cars, of course, and there weren’t any suburban communities, but it’s still impressive.

      It’s unfortunate the wire article doesn’t mention that ridership now is not much compared to what it was nearly 100 years ago – it would put things into perspective.

  32. HogwartsAlum says:

    The city I live in has buses, but they are very slow. It takes hours to get anywhere. Even though they go to the industrial park where I work, I would still have to walk all the way down to the end of the street with giant trucks going by and turning around in the cul-de-sac. There are no sidewalks in a lot of places and it’s not bike-friendly here either. Not to mention the crappy winter weather.

    I just drive.

  33. wildhare says:

    This is all well and good until you take into consideration that despite this increasing trend, public and federal funds for public transit is not keeping most lines float, massive deficits and funding cuts are going to force many operators to cut service times and frequency of routes:

    A mass transit dilemma: Ridership up, funds down
    [www.latimes.com]

  34. Jeff McRae says:

    I’ve been taking the T in Boston to work for almost 3 years now. I actually sold my car 2 and a half years ago because I wasn’t using it, it’s only function was to serve as a parking ticket magnet. I now rent a car for that once every 2 months that I might need one.

    My monthly pass is $59, but work pays for it, so it costs me nothing for an entire month’s worth of transportation. The MBTA wants to hike fares, but it won’t matter to me because mine is paid for.

  35. tenners says:

    I live in Chapel Hill NC and the bus system here is free. It’s great… the bus stop is literally a 45 second walk from my house and I can be dropped off pretty much anywhere in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. I love it and it saves me from having to drive my car.

  36. theblackdog says:

    @AkiraCrazy: Did they actually pass that in the final bill? I remember seeing an article that it was in one of the bills, but it still had a chance of being bumped off when the House and Senate met to reconcile their passed stimulus bills.

    If it did pass, that would help me since I wouldn’t be paying out of pocket anymore for Metro.

  37. MoreFunThanToast says:

    I truly wish the Greater Los Angeles and areas around would have better public transit system. Getting up at 5am to catch a 6 am train to commute to L.A. for 8 am job is more than a little unpleasant.

  38. Tyler Waldman says:

    I live in Baltimore. MTA Maryland doesn’t quite know what it’s doing and hasn’t for about 20 years. Exhibit A: Light Rail. I go to DC, NYC, Tokyo, Chicago and they have their stuff together, more or less. Los Angeles not so much. Sure, the price tag on a quality system may be high — Baltimore’s Red Line project might run over $1bil — but compare that to a new highway, which leaves a significantly larger footprint and does little to ease congestion. Mass transit is the right thing for a community and for the economy. If only more politicians (besides, of course, Amtrak Joe) had the balls to go out there and support it passionately.

  39. Onouris says:

    Lets hope increased usage actually makes someone improve the American public transport system.

  40. u2acro says:

    Sigh, welcome to Mizz-ooo-ruh, land of severely underfunded transit. Oh, we’ll spend bazillions of dollars on roads, but there will be hell to pay if transit in StL or KC gets a hand. See: “transportation stimulus,” which equates “transportation” with “roads,” in our state. :(