As prices at the pump keep rising, public transportation ridership continues to go up – in Jersey and across the nation.

The American Public Transportation Association reports ridership increased 2point-3 percent last year, as Americans hopped a bus, train or subway 235 million times to get to where they were going.

John Durso, a spokesman for New Jersey Transit, says “ridership on our rails- our actual weekday ridership -is actually up by 4 percent for 2011 versus 2010… and this year we’re actually seeing numbers that are climbing even higher- during weekdays we’re seeing our rail ridership up 5-point-7 percent – and on our buses it’s up nearly 10 percent right now.”

He says “the overall numbers are showing an increase across-the-board, and there are a number of factors that are driving that, but most in particular – most striking – is a growing economy…people are definitely taking advantage of New Jersey Transit service across our great state to get’em to their final destinations.”

He adds “we have a very substantial marketing campaign where we are encouraging our riders to ditch their cars, hop on New Jersey Transit for a comfortable, safe, convenient and affordable ride into New York as well as their other final destinations.”

Durso points out in order to handle the increased capacity “we have been taking stock of new Nabi-buses – which provide ultra-modern convenience for our customers, and this year we will also be taking stock of 100 new multi-level rail cars, which offer increased capacity as well as increased comfort and convenience…clearly you are seeing more and more people using New Jersey Transit to get to their final destinations, and it mirrors the national trend.”