Average weekday ridership numbers released today by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) show a 5.5% increase in April compared to the same month last year. The average number of weekday passenger trips is up each month this year and 6.1% overall for the first four months of 2008 compared to 2007.
Transportation Secretary and MBTA Board Chair Bernard Cohen says riding the T makes more economic sense with each passing day.
"Whether by rail, bus, or boat, tens of thousands of Commonwealth commuters in April alone looked at gas prices passing $4 per gallon and made a smart choice," says Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen. "We have every reason to believe that as people try the T and find mass transit to be a cost effective alternative, ridership will continue to increase."
Standing in front of a brand new, jumbo electronic train message board at South Station, MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas said thousands of new customers are benefitting from the T's recent investments in the transit system. "With hundreds of new buses and subway cars and major upgrades to stations, tracks, and signals, the MBTA has never been more reliable and accessible than it is today," said Grabauskas.
The total number of average weekday passenger trips in all modes of T transportation jumped by nearly 70,000 trips to 1.337 million in April compared to the same month last year. Ridership is up in rail, bus, and boat, with the largest increases in bus and subway numbers.
Another sign of the growing interest in leaving the car at home and taking the T: the 10,000th person recently subscribed to T Alerts. Launched about six months ago, T Alerts offer customers an opportunity to have special service announcements (delays, closures, etc.) sent directly to their cell phones, PDAs, or email accounts.
General Manager Grabauskas also talked about the brand new, jumbo information board (18 feet wide, 12 feet in height) that has replaced the aging and unreliable Amtrak and Commuter Rail display boards. All information about trains and tracks is now displayed on the new, easy-to-see board in the center of the concourse. In addition, a number of summary monitors have been installed around the concourse for customer convenience. Although it’s fully-automated, the new board at South Station has been programmed to make the “old railroad depot style” clicking sound to alert customers that information is changing or being added.