Title

UNDERSTANDING TRANSIT RIDERSHIP GROWTH: CASE STUDIES OF SUCCESSFUL TRANSIT SYSTEMS IN THE 1990S

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2003

Subject Area

ridership - growth, policy - fares, mode - bus, mode - mass transit

Keywords

Transit operating agencies, Transit lines, Ridership, Public transit lines, Population growth, Patronage (Transit ridership), Passes (Transportation), Mass transit lines, Managerial personnel, Interviewing, Fares, Employment, Case studies, Businessmen

Abstract

During the economic boom of the late 1990s, transit ridership increased nationwide, but not all transit systems added riders in equal proportions. To examine agencies that were especially successful at increasing patronage during the late 1990s, in-depth, open-ended interviews were conducted with managers from 12 agencies that substantially increased ridership between 1995 and 1999. The transit agency managers reported a wide variety of factors that they believe influenced patronage on their systems. While it was initially hypothesized that transit managers would tend to cite factors internal to the transit system, such as policy changes or managerial initiatives, in explaining ridership growth, they actually most often cited factors external to their transit systems, such as population or employment growth, as the primary determinants of increased ridership. When reported, the internally developed programs most frequently cited were changes in fare structure and new transit pass programs.