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The Daly Peak

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Mar 12

Growing Transit Ridership Seen Across US and at Home

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM by Kelly Vaughn

In 2013 Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation, which is the highest annual public transit ridership number in 57 years, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association. This was the eighth year in a row that more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems nationwide. While vehicle miles traveled on roads went up 0.3 percent, public transportation use in 2013 increased by 1.1 percent.

“Last year people took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation. As the highest annual ridership number since 1956, Americans in growing numbers want to have more public transit services in their communities,” said Peter Varga, APTA Chair and CEO of The Rapid in Grand Rapids, MI. “Public transportation systems nationwide – in small, medium, and large communities – saw ridership increases. Some reported all-time high ridership numbers.”

Since 1995 public transit ridership is up 37.2 percent, outpacing population growth, which is up 20.3 percent, and vehicle miles traveled, which is up 22.7 percent.

What Could these Numbers Mean in Snowmass Village?
The use of public transportation in Snowmass Village via the Village Shuttle, and the greater Roaring Fork Valley via RFTA is common, thanks in part to the systems low cost to riders (free if you're riding the Village Shuttle), frequency, and convenience.

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During its inaugural 1979/80 season, the Village Shuttle carried about 36,000 passengers. Today, shuttles carry anywhere from 350 to 5,500 a day, depending on the season and day of the week, totaling 582,000 passengers in 2013.

As the national tendency to hop on public transit grows, our Village Shuttle ridership is growing right along with it. Locals and visitors alike rate the Shuttle service positively whether they use it to get to the ski mountain, or to one of our many summer events.

"Many of our visitors have never used public transit before, so it's up to us to give them a good experience," said David Peckler, TOSV Director of Trransportation in the Town's recent Annual Report.

Does a good experience on public transit here encourages visitors to ride public transit at home? Hard to say. However, growth in ridership nation-wide is an encouraging trend as we all aim to reduce traffic congestion, carbon emissions, and resolve parking issues.

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