WASHINGTON - DESPITE rising unemployment and falling gasoline prices, more Americans are using public transport than in the last 52 years, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) said on Monday.
Train, subway and bus rides across the country increased last year by 4.7 per cent to 10.7 billion trips, while car use by Americans fell 3.6 per cent in miles (kilometers) per year, the APTA said in a report.
'Even as gas prices fell for the second half of the year and hundreds of thousands of people lost jobs, more and more people chose to ride public transportation throughout the country,' said APTA president William Millar.
'Given our current economic condition, people are looking for ways to save money and taking public transportation offers a substantial savings of more than US$8,000 (S$12,000) a year. That's quite a savings,' he added.
Rising unemployment in the latter part of 2008, however, slowed down the increase in public transportation ridership from six per cent in the third quarter (July-Augus) to only two per cent in the fourth quarter (October-December).