The Bay Area Welcomes the American Public Transportation AssociationThe 3,000
members of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) who will be hosted by San
Francisco Muni in
September have plenty to celebrate: Public transit nationwide is making a dramatic
turnaround, with more people climbing on board mass transit than at any time in the past 40
APTA couldn't have picked a better place for its annual meeting than the Bay Area, where
daily ridership on S.F. Muni has passed the 700,000 mark.
And consider BART:
Ridership on the rapid transit system increased 11 percent between 1999 and 2000, and is
still climbing (up to 330,000 passengers per day in July). Look at Golden Gate ferries -- daily ridership up 10
percent to 6,140; Santa Clara VTA light rail -- up nearly 14 percent to 26,000; and
Caltrain -- up 12
percent over the past year to 30,000. Then there's the transit success of San Francisco's
new downtown baseball stadium, Pacific
Bell Park, where more than half of the 41,000 fans per game arrive by bus,
rail, ferry or bicycle, or on foot.
Public transit's local appeal is likely to grow even stronger as BART extends its reach
to San Francisco International Airport, a fleet of top-of-the-line commuter buses hits the roads, and advanced
technologies come on line that promise to make it easier to plan and pay for public transit
trips, and take the kinks out of intersystem transferring. Come back soon, APTA, and see
how far we've traveled.
-- Marjorie Blackwell