Chances are, yes. Ridership on public transportation nationwide has increased exponentially - and is now at its highest level in the past 52 years, according to the Washington Post - but transit systems are struggling to keep up. According to the American Public Transportation Association, ridership rose on 14 of the nation's subway systems (3.5 percent), 20 of 21 commuter rail systems (4.7 percent) and 20 of 26 light-rail systems (8.3 percent). The financial crisis has hit transit hard (I wrote about three systems struggling with their loans, backed by AIG, in October) in particular because many cities made financially risky deals with banks to fund their transit systems. Now, they're finding themselves with no choice other than to make drastic cuts that could leave people across America paying more for buses and subways, or worse - without service.
Reconnecting America has put together a great Google map of the transit troubles across America, and you can use it to see how your city is affected. If you click the icons on the map, you can see exactly what cutbacks each city has planned. Riders in St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., and Phoenix face the worst cuts. Time to get a bike?
- yellow indicates service cuts;
- green indicates fare increases;
- purple indicates both service cuts and fare increases;
- red indicates both service cuts and job losses;
- turquoise indicates both fare increases and job losses; and
- $ indicates service cuts, job losses, and fare increases.