The country’s most successful transit system are all multi-modal systems that offer riders transit options including bus and rail. 100% of the top 10 transit systems (by unlinked passenger trips) operate rail, and 95% of the top twenty systems do as well.
The below chart shows percentage of systems with rail among the top 50 transit systems in the country grouped into cohorts of five cities.
*Includes Post Katrina New Orleans all data ’08 APTA Factbook Appendix B
Cincinnati is the country’s 24th largest metro area, but our bus-only system ranks 32nd in the country in ridership (Note: Cincinnati numbers include TANK). Similar sized cities that offer rail transit such as Cleveland (26th largest) and Portland (23rd largest) perform much better, ranking 22nd and 12th respectively.
Buses are a critically important part of any transit system but adding rail, in addition to its job-creating development potential, helps attract new riders and provides a car competitive product for a transit agency. Support Increased Transit Ridership–Build the Streetcar.