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Public Transportation Trends Expose Ecological, Economic and Social Crossroads
U.S. travel by public transportation soared last year to its highest level in nearly six decades, a report revealed Mondaymarking what many say is a positive step that underscores the need for broader environmental and social justice.
"This is a very good thing with respect to global climate conditions, but we need more improvements nationwide," said Barbara Lott-Holland co-chair of the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union, in an interview with Common Dreams. "If we are serious about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, we need to dramatically change the mode of transportation from single passenger automobiles to zero emissions public transit."
With a record 10.7 billion trips nationwide, public transportation use has been climbing for decades, reveeals the report released by by the American Public Transportation Association. Ridership is up 37.2 percent since 1995, yet the U.S. population has only increased 20.3 percent since then. Furthermore, the report finds that 2013 was the eighth year in a row that ridership exceeded 10 billion trips across the country, amounting to an increase of 1.1 percent from the previous year, compared with a 0.3 percent increase in vehicle miles nation-wide.
Virginia Miller, spokesperson for APTA, told Common Dreams that use of public transportation increased "when the economy started to come back." She said that "nearly 60 percent of trips on transit are for work commute," citing data the association collected between 2000 and 2005.