MA: Ridership Soars in May for MBTA Subways, Buses

Riders crowded MBTA trains and buses last month, making May the busiest month ever for its subway system and the heaviest May on its buses in nine years, the agency reported yesterday, citing good news and bad news for the boost in ridership.

State Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan attributed the soaring ridership to a rebounding state economy and key customer service initiatives, such as apps that let passengers know when their next ride is arriving.

'This is a good indicator that the Massachusetts economy is back on track,' Mullan said. 'We need to keep it up.'

But he acknowledged that skyrocketing fuel prices also played a role in getting more people out of their cars and onto the T. Gas prices, which averaged $2.74 a gallon last summer, peaked at nearly $4 a gallon in Massachusetts in early May, according to AAA.

More commuters than ever last month rode the Orange, Red and Blue subway lines, which averaged 528,100 weekday passengers in May, an 8.4 percent increase over May 2010. Daily bus ridership for May averaged 385,300 passengers, the highest for the month since 2002.

'This is the first time since 2008 that we've put together two straight months of ridership above 1.3 million,' said T spokesman Joe Pesaturo, noting that ridership normally dips after local colleges recess for the summer.

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