A recent report by the American Public Transportation association (APTA) reveals some very interesting numbers. "Despite falling gas prices and an economic recession, increasing numbers of Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008, the highest level of ridership in 52 years and a modern ridership record." Okay, to be honest, the US population was probably significantly lower 52 years ago, but this is still a very good sign.
At the time, high oil prices seemed to be the main factor, but now the economic recession seems to have taken over (and environmental motives are a growing factor, I hope).
We also had a post about how More Than Half of All Vehicles' Trips to Work in US are 11 Miles or Less. For such short distances, public transit could easily be substituted to cars (at least in cities where there's a decent infrastructure).
APTA president William W. Millar said: “Given our current economic condition,
people are looking for ways to save money and taking public transportation offers a substantial savings of more than $8,000 a year. That’s quite a savings."