Transit Ridership by Transit Authority

Transit Ridership by Transit Authority

Approximately 78 percent of all unlinked transit passenger trips in 2002 were made within the service area of just 30 transit authorities. These 30 top authorities logged 7.0 billion unlinked trips in 20021 (figure 7-5). New York City Transit alone reported 2.7 billion, or 30 percent, of all unlinked passenger trips. The Chicago Transit Authority followed with 485 million or 5 percent of all trips [2].

The top 30 transit authorities served a population of about 124 million in 2002 [2]. All transit authorities reporting to the National Transit Database determine their population-served data using definitions of bus and rail service in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and their own local criteria for other service such as ferryboat and vanpool. Some double counting of populations served occurs, especially among authorities operating in the largest metropolitan areas such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco [2].

According to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) survey,2 an average of 71 percent of household respondents indicated they had public transportation available in their area [1].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Omnibus Survey, Summer 2002, available at, as of June 2003.

2. USDOT, BTS calculation based on data in USDOT, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Database, available at, as of May 2004.

1 In 2002, 613 transit authorities submitted data to the Federal Transit Administration. However, due to reporting omissions, only 539 transit authorities are reflected in that year’s database.

2 In the summer of 2002, BTS’s Omnibus Survey collected data on public transportation in June, July, and August.