Transit is often viewed as synonymous with mass transit or mass transportation, but the latter two terms tend to be more inclusive than the term transit used on its own. For example, the term transit bus is understood to mean a bus equipped for city or frequent-stop suburban service, typically with fareboxes, multiple doors, and efficient and spartan seating, as opposed to more comfortably appointed inter-city or "express" buses, though all would be considered mass transit.
Typical examples of transit operations include rapid transit lines such as subways (metros), light rail, city or suburban omnibuses. The majority of transit passengers are traveling within a local area or region between their homes and places of employment, shopping, or schools.
Transit is distinct from other forms of common carrier passenger transportation, such as long-distance or commuterrailroads, inter-city buses, or interurban railways on the one hand, or taxicabs on the other.
Commuter railroads are not generally consider transit, although the inner urban operations of some may perform of a transit-like service. Some railroads, such as the Long Island Rail Road in earlier times, maintained a separate fleet of specially configured electric railway cars to provide a rapid transit service on designated routes that was distinct from its regular passenger operations.
Masstransit refers to municipal or regional public shared transportation, such as buses, streetcars, and ferries, open to all on a nonreserved basis.
Masstransit can be divided into fixed route systems (often involving rails), such as streetcars and subway trains, and nonfixed route transit (along surface streets or water), such as buses and ferries, but does not usually include airplanes, taxis, or long-distance rail with more formal ticketing procedures.
Currently buses account for 60% of masstransit rides in the United States; innovations such as articulated buses and reserved lanes on highways are balanced by the problems of noise, air pollution, and traffic.
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