Nationwide, the use of public transit is up 2.6 percent. In Los Angeles, the increase hasn’t been as dramatic but it is just as real. Overall, RTA experienced a 1.7 percent increase in trips.

The jump is most noticeable on the light rail system, where there was 13.7 percent growth. Bus rides increased by about .1 percent. In the last decade, ridership has jumped 27 percent.

The increases can be attributed to an increase in gas prices, but also as a result of programs to extend ridership into needy sectors. Students, for instance, can pay one flat fee per semester and then use their college IDs to ride. Students made up 15 percent of the public transit riders. The program began in 2006.

For people living in high unemployment areas, leaving home to find work means using public transit, because the costs of driving on a job hunt far exceed those of the transit system.

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.