Nationwide transit ridership continues to decline, and that decline, if anything, is accelerating. Ridership in July 2017 was 3.6 percent lower than the same month in 2016, while ridership in the first seven months of 2017 was 3.0 percent lower than the same months in 2016. These numbers are from the National Transit Database monthly data reports.
The monthly reports have every month from January 2002 through July 2017. The Antiplanner has summed the data by year, and also summed the first seven months of 2016 and 2010 for comparison with 2017. At the bottom of the original spreadsheet, the Antiplanner has also summed the data by transit agency (rows 2100-3098) and for the 200 largest urbanized areas (rows 3102-3301). Finally, columns HH through HJ calculate the percentage change from July 2017 vs. July 2016; January-July change from 2016 to 2017; and the January-July change from 2010 to 2017. Data junkies are welcome to download this 7.7-MB Excel file.
As shown in the table below, of the nation’s 100 largest urbanized areas, only a handful enjoyed ridership gains for all three time periods considered: Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, McAllen (TX), Albany, Columbia (SC), and Colorado Springs. Houston’s ridership may have grown since 2010, but its 2010 ridership had fallen by more than 20 percent since 2006, and 2017 numbers were still well short of 2006. Previous reports had shown Seattle ridership growing, but that region’s ridership declined by 1.8 percent in July 2017 vs. July 2016. Update: I am reliably informed that the Seattle decline is solely due to an error in the data. It should be corrected by FTA’s August update. Continue reading