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America's Rail Systems by Ridership

This list of United States heavy rail, light rail/streetcar, commuter rail, and downtown people mover ridership statistics indicates that success or failure of rail transit systems may not be based off of traditional density and urban area population statistics.

Published January 23, 2013 in Transit      19 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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List of United States Heavy Rail Transit Systems by Ridership


Chicago's 'L' heavy rail system

daily ridership - transit system name (route length) -- largest city served


8,093,900 - New York City Subway (232 miles) -- New York City, NY

954,200 - Washington Metro, (106.3 miles) -- Washington, DC

983,500 - Chicago 'L' (102.8 miles) -- Chicago, IL

540,100 - MBTA Subway (38 miles) -- Boston, MA

410,800 - BART (104 miles) -- San Francisco, CA

296,000 - SEPTA (36.7 miles) -- Philadelphia, PA

262,900 - PATH (13.8 miles) -- New York City, NY

227,300 - MARTA (47.6 miles) -- Atlanta, GA

153,700 - Metro Rail (17.4 miles) -- Los Angeles, CA

64,200 - Metrorail (24.4 miles) -- Miami, FL

47,700 - Baltimore Metro Subway (15.5 miles) -- Baltimore, MD

40,700 - Tren Urbano (10.7 miles) -- San Juan, PR

36,500 - PATCO Speedline (14.2 miles) -- Philadelphia, PA

--,--- - RTA Rapid Transit (19 miles) -- Cleveland, OH

15,000 - Staten Island Railway (14 miles) -- New York City, NY


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_rapid_transit_systems_by_ridership




List of United States Downtown People Movers by Ridership


JTA Skyway

daily ridership - transit system name (route length) -- largest city served


28,700 - Miami Metromover (4.4 miles) -- Miami, FL

7,083 (2011) - Detroit People Mover (2.9 miles) -- Detroit, MI

5,100 - JTA Skyway (2.5 miles) -- Jacksonville, FL

http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2012-q3-ridership-APTA.pdf



List of United States Commuter Rail Transit Systems by Ridership


South Florida's Tri-Rail commuter rail

daily ridership - transit system name (route length) -- largest city served


324,300 - MTA Long Island Railroad (700 miles) -- New York City, NY

303,800 - Metra (495 miles) -- Chicago, IL

298,200 - MTA Metro-North Railroad (384 miles) -- New York City, NY

276,459 - New Jersey Transit Rail (951 miles) -- New York City, NY/Philadelphia, PA

133,200 - MBTA Commuter Rail (368 miles) -- Boston, MA

123,900 - SEPTA Regional Rail (289 miles) -- Philadelphia, PA

48,400 - Caltrain (77 miles) -- San Francisco / San Jose, CA

43,700 - Metrolink (512 miles) -- Los Angeles, CA

36,100 - MARC Train (187 miles) -- Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC

19,200 - Virginia Railway Express (90 miles) -- Washington, DC

13,800 - Tri-Rail (72 miles) -- Miami, FL

12,400 - NICTD South Shore Line (90 miles) -- Chicago, IL

10,900 - Sounder Commuter Rail (80 miles) -- Seattle, WA

8,100 - Trinity Railway Express (34 miles) -- Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

5,800 - UTA FrontRunner (88 miles) -- Salt Lake City, UT

5,800 - NCTD Coaster (41.1 miles) -- San Diego, CA

3,900 - New Mexico Rail Runner Express (97 miles) -- Albuquerque, NM

3,300 - Altamont Commuter Express (86 miles) -- San Jose, CA

2,500 - Northstar Line (40 miles) -- Minneapolis, MN

2,200 - Shore Line East (59 miles) -- New Haven, CT

1,700 - Capital MetroRail (32 miles) -- Austin, TX

1,700 - Westside Express Service (15 miles) -- Beaverton (Portland), OR

1,400 - A-Train (21 miles) -- Denton (Dallas/Fort Worth), TX

1,100 - Music City Star (32 miles) -- Nashville, TN

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_commuter_rail_systems_by_ridership




List of United States Light Rail Transit Systems by Ridership


Charlotte's LYNX light rail

daily ridership - transit system name (route length) -- largest city served

231,700 - MBTA Green Line (28 miles) -- Boston, MA

200,300 - Los Angeles County Metro Rail (70.4 miles) -- Los Angeles, CA

173,500 - Muni Metro (45.6 miles) -- San Francisco, CA

141,000 - MAX light rail and Portland Streetcar (56.9 miles) -- Portland, OR

95,700 - San Diego Trolley (53.5 miles) -- San Diego, CA

94,900 - SEPTA Subway-Surface lines, Suburban Trolley Lines, and Girard Avenue Trolley (60 miles) -- Philadelphia, PA

78,800 - DART (75.6 miles) -- Dallas, TX

63,600 - Denver RTD, The Ride Light Rail (35 miles) -- Denver, CO

56,900 - UTA TRAX (35.3 miles) -- Salt Lake City, UT

55,300 - MetroLink (46 miles) -- St. Louis, MO

46,000 - Sacramento Regional Transit District (36.9 miles) -- Sacramento, CA

42,000 - METRO Light Rail (20 miles) -- Phoenix, AZ

38,800 - METRORail (7.5 miles) -- Houston, TX

34,400 - Santa Clara VTA Light Rail (42.2 miles) -- San Jose, CA

34,200 - Hiawatha Line (12 miles) -- Minneapolis, MN

31,721 - Central Line and South Lake Union Streetcar (16.9 miles) -- Seattle, WA

28,400 - The T (26.2 miles) -- Pittsburgh, PA

28,300 - Baltimore Light Rail (30 miles) -- Baltimore, MD

23,000 - Buffalo Metro Rail (6.4 miles) -- Buffalo, NY

21,426 - Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (20.6 miles) -- Jersey City, NJ

15,900 - LYNX Rapid Transit Services (9.6 miles) -- Charlotte, NC

13,100 - RTA Streetcars (21.5 miles) -- New Orleans, LA

10,075 - Newark Light Rail (9.9 miles) -- Newark, NJ

8,900 - The Rapid Blue and Green Lines (15 miles) -- Cleveland, OH

8,400 - Sprinter (22 miles) -- Oceanside, CA

6,700 - Tide Light Rail (7.4 miles) -- Norfolk, VA

4,900 - Memphis RTA Trolley (6.7 miles) -- Memphis, TN

4,273 - River Line (34 miles) -- Trenton/Camden, NJ

3,168 - Tacoma Link (1.6 miles) -- Tacoma, WA

500 - TECO Line Streetcar (2.3 miles) -- Tampa, FL

340 - River Rail Streetcar (2.5 miles) -- Little Rock, AR

300 - Kenosha Transit (2 miles) -- Kenosha, WI

0 - Galveston Island Trolley (5.2 miles) -- Galveston, TX

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_light_rail_systems_by_ridership

source: http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2012-q3-ridership-APTA.pdf

Article by Ennis Davis







19 Comments

tufsu1

January 23, 2013, 09:08:47 AM
nice list....realized I have ridden over 30 of these systems/lines....including all of the heavy rail, except Los Angeles and Long island

thelakelander

January 23, 2013, 09:37:28 AM
You've got me beat.  I think I've ridden on about 22 of them.

PeeJayEss

January 23, 2013, 09:53:14 AM
What is the difference between heavy rail (what wiki calls "rapid transit") and non-light rail commuter/regional? It seems like there is some gray area in those. From wikipedia's definition, there are a few from rapid transit that I would have put as commuter. For the nomenclature here, I'm not sure what rapid transit is, exactly? Is it dedicated track?

17 for me...

thelakelander

January 23, 2013, 10:07:15 AM
Heavy Rail (rapid transit) is also known as "third rail".  That third rail is electric, allowing for  higher speeds and rapid acceleration.  These types of systems also tend to have shorter headways and higher passenger capacity than other forms of rail.  Because of that third rail, they also have to be grade separated.

Commuter rail/regional rail  is an electric or diesel propelled urban passenger train service consisting of local short distance travel operating between adjacent cities and towns, or between a central city and adjacent suburbs, using either locomotive hauled or multiple unit railroad passenger cars.  Many commuter rail systems only run on weekdays and have longer headways than heavy rail rapid transit systems.  Also, unlike heavy rail, commuter rail systems can operate on the same track as freight rail.

Adam W

January 23, 2013, 12:37:49 PM
The ridership numbers for the NYC subway seemed really high to me, so I checked the MTA website and they show the 2011 average weekday ridership number as 5,284,295.

That's still amazing, though.

http://www.mta.info/nyct/facts/ridership/

Lunican

January 23, 2013, 01:58:35 PM
All ridership figures represent "unlinked" passenger trips (i.e. line transfers on multi-line systems register as separate trips).

http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2011-q4-ridership-APTA.pdf

Lunican

January 23, 2013, 02:00:37 PM
Annual Subway Ridership Globally:

Code: [Select]
1. Tokyo              3.151 billion (2010)
2. Moscow              2.389 billion (2011)
3. Beijing              2.180 billion (2011)
4. Shanghai      1.884 billion (2010)
5. Seoul              1.769 billion (2010)
6. Guangzhou      1.640 billion (2011)
7. New York City        1.640 billion (2011)
8. Paris              1.506 billion (2010)
9. Mexico City      1.410 billion (2010)
10. Hong Kong      1.378 billion (2011)

Adam W

January 23, 2013, 03:07:07 PM
All ridership figures represent "unlinked" passenger trips (i.e. line transfers on multi-line systems register as separate trips).

http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2011-q4-ridership-APTA.pdf

So, if you were going from, say, Grand Central Terminal to Carroll Street station and had to transfer from the 6 train to the F train, that would count as two trips (and would count towards "2" in the weekday ridership)?

Lunican

January 23, 2013, 03:45:03 PM
Yeah. There are lots of weird ways they count ridership, but I guess as long as everything on the list uses the same method it's ok for comparison.

Adam W

January 23, 2013, 03:56:22 PM
Yeah. There are lots of weird ways they count ridership, but I guess as long as everything on the list uses the same method it's ok for comparison.

Fair enough! It seems like it would be a monumental task keeping track of that sort of data.

Any way you slice it though, NYC dwarfs all other US subway (or heavy rail transit or whatever) systems. Like by a country mile.

thelakelander

January 23, 2013, 04:37:53 PM
It also slices the other metro areas and most states by population and density in general.  In the US, NYC should not be a benchmark. It's an extreme exception.

Adam W

January 23, 2013, 04:46:34 PM
It also slices the other metro areas and most states by population and density in general.  In the US, NYC should not be a benchmark. It's an extreme exception.

Of course. It's a one-of-a-kind place. And that's something every friggin New Yorker feels the need to remind you of constantly  :D

Ocklawaha

January 23, 2013, 05:58:54 PM
Don't forget Mumbi (Bombay) India which chocked up 7.24 million commuters daily. Annual ridership 2.64 billion.

Adam W

January 23, 2013, 06:06:33 PM
Don't forget Mumbi (Bombay) India which chocked up 7.24 million commuters daily. Annual ridership 2.64 billion.

I didn't think the Mumbai Metro was built yet.

Edit: I realised after posting this that you were probably returning to the issue of rail and not necessarily sticking with subways/rapid transit or whatever - and your comment might not have been in response to the table Lunican posted. So I did a bit more research and see you were referring to Mumbai Suburban Railway. Sorry about that  :)

Ocklawaha

January 23, 2013, 09:18:09 PM
This is the key to passenger count. Y'all might recall a few years ago someone wrote a stupid TU article that "JTA doesn't know how many passengers it carries." http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-02-01/story/youre_just_a_rider_to_jta_jacksonville_ridership_count_is_a_mystery

Actually it was/is only a mystery to Larry Hannan who couldn't grasp the concept that there are TWO major ways to count passengers on a transit system. You can count passenger trips (as in from start to finish no matter how many changes enroute) or you can count individual boardings (which is pretty simple). Once JTA started explaining that the passenger might change buses during the same trip his eyes glazed over... LOL!  I remember the typical ignorant rants about 'our stupid bus system,' every one of which reflected more on the writer then on JTA. Here is the official word on these counts:

Linked Passenger Trip
A trip from origin to destination on the transit system. Even if a person must make several transfers during a journey, the trip is counted as one linked trip on the system.

Unlinked Passenger Trips (UPT)
The number of passengers who board public transportation vehicles. Passengers are counted each time they board vehicles no matter how many vehicles they use to travel from their origin to their destination.

stephendare

January 23, 2013, 09:40:35 PM
Ock the problem Larry had is one that Transportation officials seem obtusely unable to gauge.

"How many people actually use public transit regularly?"

or

"How many individuals are using your public transit system?"

None of the counts that are provided or tracked by transportation officials answer that question.

tufsu1

January 23, 2013, 09:50:44 PM
the same problem exists in traffic counts on roads....we only know the # of cars that pass a specific location....not how many stops they have made along the way, how many times they poass the location, or how many people are in each car.

Ocklawaha

January 23, 2013, 09:53:06 PM
Yes, it's pretty basic, Linked trips would get you much closer then unlinked would, but if all linked trips were made by the same 50 people you would be able to tell it from the numbers. A day may be near when technology will allow transit systems to fix a true number on their daily users.

ProjectMaximus

January 24, 2013, 02:32:14 AM
22 for me! what what :p And I've purposely never ridden just for pleasure. Only when it was most practical for me to do so.
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