Average Transit Fares

Average Transit Fares

Transit fares remained relatively stable between 1993 and 2003 (figure 7-5). 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 2003, cost the same (18 per passenger-mile) in 2003 as it did in 1993 (in chained 2000 dollars),2 although it rose to 21 in 2000 (figure 7-6).

Demand-response transit3 fares rose the most between 1993 and 2003: from 19 to 23 per passenger-mile or 22 percent. These fares were at their highest point (33) in 1994. All rail transit fares declined during the 10-year period: commuter rail, -12 percent; heavy rail, -19 percent; and light rail, -17 percent. Rail transit, the second-most heavily used component of transit, accounted for 30 percent of unlinked passenger trips in 2003, while demand-response had less than 1 percent of the trips [1].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Summaries and Trends, 2003 National Transit Profile, available at http://www.ntdprogram.com/, as of April 2005.

1 See Transit Ridership in section 6, "Availability of Mass Transit," for a discussion of unlinked trips.

2 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. To eliminate the effects of inflation over time, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics converted current dollars (which are available in appendix B of this report) to chained 2000 dollars.

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