Just the Facts: Which age groups use public transportation?

While riding on the bus, I’ve been taking advantage of my time to look around at the other people riding the bus with me.

By YAIR ASSAF-SHAPIRA
June 26, 2019 15:31
1 minute read.
Just the Facts: Which age groups use public transportation?

Transit Users in Israel, by Age, 2017. (photo credit: JERUSALEM INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH)

 
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It might seem like public transportation is used more by young people and senior citizens, but this may not actually be the case.
Now that it’s summertime and it’s too hot out to walk, I’ve been taking the bus to the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research offices. While riding on the bus, I’ve been taking advantage of my time to look around at the other people riding the bus with me. It seems like most of the other passengers are young people and senior citizens, but apparently the makeup of my morning commute is not typical of people using public transportation.

According to a survey carried out by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2017, 70% of adults (age 20 and up) take advantage of public transportation, whereas among young people between the ages of 20-24 the rate is much higher: 89%. In other words, 9 out of 10 young people use public transportation. After I learned this statistic, I looked more closely the next time I took the bus and it’s true – there were many students, soldiers and other young people who probably fell within this age category. As people get older, the percentage of them who travel using public transportation falls. The percentage of people between the ages of 35-39 who use public transportation is only 63%. From this age and up the rate remains somewhere between 60-70%.

It turns out that while it appears that many senior citizens use public transportation, apparently the percentage doesn’t rise with age. I thought this might be a one-time deviation (this really does happen) and so I checked the previous year, too, but the results were almost identical.

So I began wondering if perhaps young people who currently travel on public transportation will continue to do so in the coming years, which would mean that the percentage of older people would increase. But when I checked surveys from previous years, the percentage of young adults traveling on public transportation were about the same (87%-88%), which means that as they aged, fewer of them continued to travel on public transportation.

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