Mass Transit Revival

Archive Report

Ridership Gains and Energy Trends

Patronage Increases Since 1973 Oil Crisis

Take the A-Train,” Duke Ellington's homage to the New York subway through Harlem, electrified jazz enthusiasts everywhere during the 1930s. But it did not inspire people actually to ride the subways, for this was the era in which the automobile was beginning to drive rail transit systems out of business. By the 1960s, America's commitment to the auto seemed complete, and the A-train itself had become synonymous with everything that had caused travelers to lose interest in rail: noisy and filthy carriages, and impoverished, sometimes unruly passengers. The nation's youth now swayed to the strains of “Little Deuce Coupe,” a song sung by the Beach Boys, a California rock group — in tribute to a ...

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