Study: Public transport use at highest level since 1956

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Public transportation use in America is on the rise, according to a recent study.

"I use the bus for everything," Ann Marie Boyett said Monday as she waited for the bus. She rides the bus every day like she has for the last 40 years.

"I take it to the doctor, to the dentist, I take it shopping," she said with a smile.

The American Public Transportation Association said 10.7 billion trips were taken on public transportation in the United States in 2013. That number is up by 1.1 percent in 2013 and has increased by 37.2 percent since 1995, according to the study which was released Monday.

The APTA said ridership in the U.S. is at its highest level since 1956.

"That's a lot of people. A lot of mileage," said Janell Bates as she waited for the bus.

Some Florida cities seeing record ridership are Tampa, Fort Myers and Pompano Beach.

In Jacksonville, more than 12.7 million people used the Jacksonville Transportation Authority in 2012 and nearly 12.7 million in 2013. The number is slightly down because of a change in the magnet school bus program, meaning less riders, according to a JTA spokesperson.

JTA is hopeful it'll surpass 2013's numbers this year.

So, why the increase on the national level?

The study points to:

-More people demanding more public transport services.

-Improved access to public transportation.

"I believe that we're moving forward a lot," Synobia Williams said as she was on the bus. "Because the transportation here, it's OK."

The study also points to economic recovery in some areas. When more people are employed, more commute to work.

"Anything that can make a job for someone is a wonderful thing," Boyett said. "When someone has a purpose and a place to go and something to do, it changes their lives. I'm getting choked up because it is such a good thing."

Click here to read the full report.


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