The North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) has posted a 3.9 percent increase in ridership in its fiscal year (FY) 2013, setting a record number of riders for the year.
Ridership for all NCRTD operated routes totaled 193,027 in FY13 over a total of 185,827 in FY12. NCRTD provides 20 fixed routes throughout north central New Mexico and two demand response (para-transit) routes.
An analysis of all NCRTD-funded routes for FY13 shows a 6.8 percent increase in ridership with 461,587 in FY13 over 431,941 in FY12. “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 special event services such as Folk Art Market, Spanish Market, Indian Market and Zozobra; and Los Alamos Atomic City Transit that are funded by the NCRTD.
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 FY13, $981,932 went to support Santa Fe Trails, $1.33 million was provided to support Los Alamos Atomic City Transit and $2 million (projected) went to New Mexico Rail Runner Express.
Earlier in 2013, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reported that in calendar year 2012 ridership in public transportation services overall reached record levels and saw an average increase of 1.49 percent across the U.S.
“We’re very pleased to see yet another year of record ridership for the NCRTD,” commented NCRTD Executive Director Anthony Mortillaro. “While we saw no new routes added in fiscal year 2013, we still saw an annual ridership increase that more than doubled the 2012 national average for increased riders on public transportation.”
Mortillaro continued, “The trend towards public transportation is improving, both nationally and within the District. When you consider the Green benefits and the cost savings, there’s little reason not to seek it out if the option is there.”
According to APTA’s July Transit Savings Report, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save an average of $10,181 annually. Those savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle.
In July, the NCRTD rolled out seven route enhancements and now provides service to Madrid in Santa Fe County and Costilla in north Taos County as well as service into the Pueblos of Nambé and Ohkay Owingeh. The addition of the Costilla service now expands its north/south service area over 170 miles reaching to Edgewood in south Santa Fe County.