Average Transit Fares

Average Transit Fares

Transit fares remained relatively stable between 1992 and 2002 (figure 6-5). Increases in fares per passenger-mile for some types of transit service were offset by lower fares per passenger-mile for other types.

Local transit bus service, which accounted for 58 percent of public transportation ridership (by number of unlinked passenger trips1) in 2002, cost the same (18¢ per passenger-mile) in 2002 as it did in 1992 (in chained 2000 dollars),2 although it rose to 21¢ in 2000 (figure 6-6).

Demand-responsive transit3 fares rose the most between 1992 and 2002: from 18¢ to 22¢ per passenger-mile or 20 percent. These fares were at their highest point (27¢), however, in 1995. All rail transit fares declined during this period: commuter rail, –7 percent; heavy rail, –13 percent; and light rail, –8 percent. Rail transit, the second-most heavily used component of transit, accounted for 39 percent of unlinked passenger trips in 2002, while demand responsive had less than 1 percent of the trips [1].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Summaries and Trends, Annual Reports, available at http://www.ntdprogram.com, as of May 2004.

1 See Transit Ridership in section 7, “Availability of Mass Transit,” for a discussion of unlinked trips.

2 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

3 Demand-responsive transit operates on a nonfixed route and nonfixed schedule in response to calls from passengers or their agents to the transit operator or dispatcher.