Transit Ridership by Transit Authority

Transit Ridership by Transit Authority

Approximately 78 percent of all unlinked transit passenger trips in 2003 were made within the service area of just 30 transit authorities [1]. These 30 top authorities logged 6.9 billion unlinked trips in 20031 (figure 6-5). New York City Transit alone reported 2.6 billion or 38 percent of unlinked passenger trips for the top 30 authorities. The Chicago Transit Authority followed with 475 million or 7 percent of trips for the top 30 authorities.

The top 30 transit authorities served a population of about 125 million in 2003. All transit authorities reporting to the National Transit Database estimate the population they serve 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.


1. U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations using data from USDOT, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Database, available at, as of April 2005.

1 In 2003, 622 transit agencies submitted reports to the Federal Transit Administration. Of these, 74 reporting agencies operated nine or fewer vehicles across all modes and types of service and received waivers from detailed reporting. Thus, 548 transit agencies are included in the 2003 database.