On a typical weekday in 2014, Bay Area residents boarded buses, trains and ferries approximately 1.7 million times. While ridership has now surpassed pre-recession levels – growing robustly for the third consecutive year – the region has still not exceeded its modern historic peak of nearly 1.8 million weekday boardings in 2001. On a per-capita basis, transit use is well below the levels of the early 1990s. The average resident boarded transit 79 times per year in 1991, while in 2014, this had fallen to 70 trips per year – a decline of 12 percent over a 23-year period.
Short- and long-term ridership trends have indicated an ongoing shift in transit demand away from local bus services and toward regional rail systems. While ridership on rail systems has grown steadily over the decades, bus ridership has dropped significantly. On a per-capita basis, ridership on Bay Area buses has fallen by one-third since 1991. Given that the majority of Bay Area transit trips take place on buses – rather than trains – this has played a major role in the overall per-capita decline in regional transit use.