Gas Prices Surge, So Does Mass Transit Ridership

Here’s some not-so-surprising news for the smart growth crowd: mass transit systems around the country have seen strong ridership growth in the past few months. The likely culprit? Historically high gas prices. From the NY Times:

“Some cities with long-established public transit systems, like New York and Boston, have seen increases in ridership of 5 percent or more so far this year. But the biggest surges — of 10 to 15 percent or more over last year — are occurring in many metropolitan areas in the South and West where the driving culture is strongest and bus and rail lines are more limited.”

With gas prices high and no expectation of them coming back down, is it time for a serious discussion about transit planning?

Also: check out interactive “Crude Oil Prices: 1861-2008” chart. It’s incredible.

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