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December 9, 2011
Public Transit Ridership Up in Third Quarter

Nationally 2.6 billion trips were taken on public transit in the third quarter of 2011 according to APTA's quarterly ridership report. This is a two percent increase over the same quarter last year -- almost 52 million additional trips. This reflects an increase in ridership across the board on all modes and marks the first year since 2008 with growth in each of the first three quarters of the year.

"This increase in ridership shows that Americans want more transportation choices and will use public transportation if it is available in their community," said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy. "Also, transit agency investments are paying off, resulting in riders experiencing a higher level of quality service."

The ridership report was featured on a front page story in the Dec. 8 edition of USA Today and also featured in another story in the same edition.

More details will be available in the Dec. 19 issue of Passenger Transport.

Congress Continues to Form End-of-Year Tax Bill; Commuter Benefit Could be Affected

As of Dec. 9, Congress continues to discuss an end-of-year tax package that would address a number of issues as it heads for winter adjournment. APTA is working to ensure that two items of importance to its members are part of these packages -- maintaining the Commuter Benefit and extending alternative fuels tax credits.

Riders relying on public transportation will be forced to dig deeper into their pockets to commute to and from work if these items are not included in any end of the year actions. Transit benefits and parking benefits have been equal at $230, but unless Congress extends this benefit before the end of the year, transit benefits will be reduced to $125 while the parking benefit would increase to $240. This would effectively be a tax increase on public transit riders and their employers. Approximately 70 percent of public transit riders make household incomes from $15,000 to $99,000 a year. APTA continues to support parity for public transit riders.

If these bills are included in the end-of-year "tax extenders" legislation, they could be considered as early as next week.


Don’t miss out on all the latest information on regulatory and legislative developments at APTA’s Legal Affairs Seminar Feb 19-21, 2012. Among the topics that will be covered are the latest changes on Capitol Hill and within the administration as well as industry-related litigation and other legal issues. Early registration ends on Jan. 6, so be sure to book your hotel room in Tampa, FL soon!


Public transit can move people to buying in bulk. That is what retailers such as BJ's Wholesale Club and Burlington Coat Factory are finding out as they take their suburban modeled stores and move them into urban centers. A vice-president at BJ's called public transit absolutely critical as these businesses move into new settings.

When most riders hop on the bus they do not expect to be serenaded. Recently, however, on Broward County Transit that is exactly what they got. The system teamed up with the Miramar Cultural Center to promote the "Sing-a-Long Sound of Music" movie screening. Riders received a goody-bag with swag from the cultural center and a theater schedule. A ride and a show!

Baltimore has one very festive bus this holiday season. Santa is behind the wheel of a specially decorated Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) bus. Riders will dash away from the bus stop with Santa driving and a team of elves dispensing free rides, candy canes, and holiday cheer. Santa, no stranger to planning, will be choosing a route through the city each day and bringing a little cheer to those riders. This continues a decades-old tradition for the MTA -- so keep an eye out from now through Dec. 22.

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