Public transit is on the rise. Record numbers across the country are getting on the bus or train and leaving cars behind.
Yesterday, the American Public Transit Association released statistics that show that 2012 was the second highest year of public transit ridership since 1957. Only 2008 was higher, and we remember what happened that year.
An article on CNN.com pinpoints some of the reasons. High gas prices are a factor of course but there seems to be a deeper shift in thinking among younger people. It wasn’t that long ago that teenagers dreamed about getting their own car and having the independence to go wherever they want. That dream has shifted. With more and better transit options available to people these days, some see taking public transit as liberating. No car payment, time to sit on the bus or train and read, take a nap, talk or text. And in many places carshare services can provide a car to you when you need it and you don’t have to pay for a car that’s just taking up a parking place most of the time.
Al McWilliams, a Michigan advertising executive who is 32, is quoted in the article as saying “Our parents moved to ‘burbs where we grew up riding around in cars. My generation is going the other way. It may be as simple as that.”