The saying about a Monet—that's it's lovely from afar but messy up close—also applies to the annual ridership statistics released by the American Public Transportation Association. The 2014 figures that came out Monday are no exception.
At the broadest level, everything looks great. Americans took 10.75 billion mass transit trips in 2014, up from the 10.65 billion taken the year before. APTA calls this a ridership "record" that's higher than any annual total in 58 years. Since 1995, public transportation ridership has indeed grown 39 percent, almost double the population growth over the same time period. And the overall U.S. ridership trend inched upward even in the face of plunging gas prices.