The American Public Transportation Association has published some of the data for its 2017 Public Transportation Fact Book — though not, so far, the fact book itself. If, like the Antiplanner, you are a data junkie, the data is the important part anyway.
The new data, formally titled Appendix A, consists of a spreadsheet containing 136 tables of historical information on ridership, service levels, costs, fares, energy consumption, and other information broken down, where available, by mode through 2015. Although these data are based on the National Transit Database, the numbers are slightly different from my totals, but it is good to have a long-term set of numbers that come from a more-or-less consistent methodology.
The numbers show that, when compared with 2014, ridership in 2015 fell by 1.4 percent and passenger miles fell by 1.7 percent. But vehicle-miles of service grew by 0.8 percent, so boardings per vehicle-mile dropped by 1.9 percent. Operating costs grew by 2.1 percent, but fares grew by 3.9 percent (which only covered a portion of the growth in operating costs). Fares per trip grew by 4 percent, which probably didn’t help ridership. Continue reading