Transit Ridership Continues to Grow in Kansas City and Nationwide

Posted on: Dec 19, 2012

Seven consecutive quarters of ridership increases across the nation show growing demand

(Kansas City, Mo. – Dec. 19, 2012) Kansas City is part of a nationwide trend of increasing transit ridership. For the first three quarters of 2012, ridership on MAX and The Metro has increased 5.50% over ridership for the same time period in 2011. More than 12,064,800 trips on Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) service were made so far this year, compared to 11,435,800 trips for January through September of 2011.

More than 7.9 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the first three quarters of 2012 as ridership increased by 2.6 percent over the first three quarters of 2011, according to a report released this month by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).  This report shows that 201 million more trips were taken in the first nine months of 2012 than in the same time period in 2011. 

“With consistent ridership increases, it’s easy to see that demand for public transit is growing,” said KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer.  “As the local economy is improving and new jobs are being added, public transportation ridership is up. This makes sense since nearly 60 percent of the trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes.  The Metro and MAX are an important resource for employees and employers.”

Mobility is an important reason to have a strong public transportation system. However, public transportation also has a critical connection to the economy.  For every $1 billion invested in public transportation 36,000 jobs are created and supported.  Additionally, public transportation plays an important role in providing access to jobs.

Other cities experiencing economic improvements and public transit ridership increases in the third quarter of 2012 include: Grand Rapids (MI); Seattle (WA); St. Petersburg (FL); Phoenix (AZ); San Francisco (CA); Los Angeles (CA); and Riverside (CA).

National January – September 2012 Ridership Breakdown

All major modes of public transportation increased from January through September this year.  Light rail and heavy rail saw the largest increases in the first nine months with increases of 4.2 percent and 3.6 percent respectively. 

Nationally, heavy rail ridership increased by 3.6 percent and 12 out of 15 heavy rail systems (subways and elevated trains) experienced ridership increases in the first nine months of 2012.  Light rail ridership increased by 4.2 percent from January through September, as 22 out of 28 light rail systems reported increases in ridership.  Hampton, VA experienced a triple digit increase due to new service.  Nineteen out of 28 commuter rail systems reported ridership increases and commuter rail ridership grew by 2.4 percent in the first three quarters of 2012.  Nationally, bus ridership rose by 1.8 percent from January through September of 2012, with 28 out of 37 large bus systems reporting increases.  Demand response (paratransit) increased by 3.6 percent.

To see the complete APTA ridership report go to: