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August/September 2000
Golden Gate ferry
Pacific Bell Park
High-speed busBus Photo: Dino Vournas

The Bay Area Welcomes the American Public Transportation Association

The 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 years.

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