An estimated 5.2% of American workers commute on public transit. Larger, denser cities often require comprehensive public transportation systems that can reduce residents’ dependence on automobiles and help decrease traffic congestion, air pollution, and in some cases, travel time. In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metro area, 5.1% of workers commute on public transit, roughly similar to the national share and second highest in the state.
One indication of a good transit system is an economically diverse ridership. In Los Angeles, the typical public transit commuter earns $17,680 a year, roughly 48% of the $36,695 median earnings of commuters who drive to work alone in the metro area. Nationwide, the median earnings of public transit commuters is 89% of the earnings of workers who drive alone to work.
There are a number of benefits to public transportation. Riders save money, get more physical activity, and, on some routes, may even save time. On average, those who take public transit in Los Angeles take 22 minutes longer getting to work than those who drive. Nationwide, taking public transit adds 25 minutes to the average commute.