The North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) has posted a 26 percent increase in ridership in its fiscal year 2012, which runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, setting a record number of riders for the year.
Ridership for all NCRTD operated routes totaled 185,827 in FY12 over a total of 147,546 in FY11. NCRTD provides 22 fixed routes throughout North Central New Mexico and two demand response (para-transit) routes.
An analysis of all NCRTD-funded routes for FY12 shows a 15.4 percent increase in ridership with 431,941 in FY 12 and 374,211 in FY11. "All NCRTD-funded routes" includes the NCRTD-operated routes as well as regional routes serviced by Santa Fe Trails, including Santa Fe Pick-Up, and Los Alamos Atomic City Transit that are funded by the NCRTD.
Earlier this year, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reported that in calendar year 2011 ridership in transportation services overall saw an increase of 2.31 percent across the United States.
From the Gross Receipts Taxes (GRT) it collects each year, the NCRTD contributes to regional transportation services provided by other transit operators in its four-county north central New Mexico area. In FY12, $967,000 went to support Santa Fe Trails, $1.4 million was provided to support Los Alamos Atomic City Transit and $1.9 million went to New Mexico Rail Runner Express.
"Consumers have been feeling the pinch at the gas pumps and it has caused them to seek alternative means of transportation which has certainly had an impact on our ridership," observed NCRTD Executive Director Anthony Mortillaro. "What has been encouraging to us is that as prices began to dip at the end of Spring our numbers continued to rise. I believe that once people try public transportation and see the benefits, they tend to stick with it."
Mortillaro continued, "Driving less and switching to public transportation is the fastest way for individuals to cut monthly and yearly transportation costs. Not only that, it reduces the number of cars on our streets, the wear and tear on the State's system of roads and highways and the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere."
According to the APTA's August Transit Savings Report, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save an average of $9,854 annually. Those savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle.