Ridership aboard Metropolitan Transit System’s bus network set a new ridership record for the year ending June 30, 2012. There were 55.5 million passenger trips taken on bus during the year, which was 5.2 percent higher than the previous fiscal year and more than 800,000 more passenger trips taken in fiscal year 2009, which was when the previous bus ridership record was set.
Trolley ridership for the year increased 3.4 percent to 32.7 million passenger trips.
Combined, MTS ridership reached 88.2 million passenger trips, up 2.3 percent from last fiscal year. The total is the third highest in the system’s history, approaching the record 91.6 million trips taken in fiscal year 2009.
"These high ridership numbers demonstrate just how many people depend on public transportation services," said Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer of MTS. "High gas prices and an improving economy help push riders to our system, but I also attribute our success to our efforts to concentrate our services on where people need them the most."
In response to high demand, MTS will add considerable bus services beginning in September. It will reinstate many of the Sunday services and frequencies that it was forced to cut in 2009 due to state budget cuts and significant decline in tax revenues. Rebounding fare revenue and tax revenue, and the reinstatement of state transit assistance allows MTS to make the service enhancements.
"What is remarkable about our record this year is that we achieved it with far less service on the road," Jablonski said. "We believe that our service additions will generate even higher ridership and relieve crowding on some of our routes."
Relatively high gas prices were prevalent in both 2009 and 2012, which was a factor in establishing the ridership records. More and more people discovered that public transportation provides an economical alternative to driving and parking.
The American Public Transportation Association calculates that the average two-person household who gives up one car in favor of riding public transportation can save more than $10,000 a year.
MTS operates more than 90 bus routes and three Trolley lines on 53 miles of double-tracked railway. For more information on how you can use public transportation and save money, go to www.sdmts.com.