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New York City leads national mass transit surge, report finds

An even-more crowded commute could become the national norm for straphangers.

mta subway New York City led a national increase in mass transit ridership, according to a new report.
Credit: Miles Dixon/Metro

An even-more crowded commute could become the national norm for straphangers.

New York City is leading a national surge in public transportation use, accounting for one in three mass transit trips made in America last year, according to a new report released Monday.

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The American Public Transportation Association found mass transit riders took nearly 10.7 billion trips nationwide in 2013 -- the highest number since 1956.

"There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities," the association's president and CEO, Michael Melaniphy , said in a statement. "People in record numbers are demanding more public transit services and communities are benefiting with strong economic growth."

The association found transit use across the country increased 1.1 percent from 2012.

New York City transit ridership increased 3.6 percent from 2012 to 2013, with over 3.4 billion riders last year, according to data from the report.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authorityattributed ridership agains to service improvements and fare deals through the MetroCard, including 30-day passes and free transfers. Rebound from the economic recession has also played a role.

Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said that younger New Yorkers are now more likely to use mass transit.

"The Millennials, unlike the baby boomers, are not programed to want to move to the suburbs and spend their life picking up people in the family car," he said.

The MTA added that the transit system, partially due to younger ridership and crime reduction, is being used more during off-peak hours.

In neighborhoods like Greenpoint, Brooklyn, subway stations can get packed after 9 p.m. in the middle of the week, Russianoff said.

"Everybody's out and they're happy they can take the train to the club," he said, noting mass transit riders don't have to worry about drinking and driving.

Russianoff, whose own 17-year-old daughter has put off getting a driver's license, added that times have changed.

"These days, people are fine with letting others drive them," he said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders

 
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