Metro Transit reported a 7 percent increase in combined bus and light-rail ridership last year, despite a 25 cent fare increase and bus service reductions. A mild winter and high gasoline prices contributed to the strong ridership.
Just imagine what ridership would be like if there were adequate funding for transit. I'm amazed at how good our bus service is despite the fact that it's local government's redheaded stepchild.
There was this graphic in the Strib a while back comparing the demographics of bus riders to LRT riders. The upshot:
Bus riders have lower incomes and are much less likely to own a car. LRT riders have higher incomes and are much more likely to own a car.
It goes to show that the only way to really change "car culture" (congestion, environmental damage, and isolation) is to build a fast, comfortable LRT system.
(Either that or remove all parking lots . . .)