SD: Rapid Transit records four-year high in youth ridership

June 6, 2024
Rapid Transit System recorded 46,827 youth passenger trips for the 2023-24 school year, a four-year high.

Jun. 5—Rapid Transit System recorded 46,827 youth passenger trips for the 2023-24 school year, a four-year high.

The youth ridership numbers for the school year covers the period of late August through late May. The total is a 15% increase over the youth ridership numbers recorded for the 2022-23 school year (40,669), a 32 percent increase over the 2021-22 school year (33,101) and a 43 percent increase over the youth ridership totals of the 2020-21 school year (27,662).

Rapid Transit averaged more than 5,000 youth passenger riders for each month of the school calendar, and recorded more than 5,000 youth passenger trips in four of the nine months in the school calendar period, with a high of 5,657 passenger trips recorded in April.

"It was a very solid year for youth ridership," said Rapid Transit Manager Megan Gould-Stabile. "We continue to see steady trends upward in terms of both youth and overall ridership. We want to emphasize youth can continue to ride buses free during the summer months as well."

Overall ridership

Rapid Transit System recorded nearly 22,000 passenger trips in May (21,971), a slight one percent increase over the previous month.

Since October, more than 163,000 passenger trips (163,755) have been recorded on Rapid Transit buses, an average of more than 20,469 passenger trips per month. The May ridership number is a one percent increase over April's ridership number and a slight four percent decrease from May 2023.

Included in May's overall ridership totals are 5,341 youth passenger trips recorded as part of the City's Youth Ride Free program. The number is 10 percent lower than the May 2023 number of 5,959, however the 2023-24 school year ended May 24, a full week earlier than when the 2022-23 school year ended on June 2.

"The numbers, both in terms of overall ridership and youth ridership, remained very solid in May and were very similar to the numbers of a year ago," said Gould-Stabile. "We lost out on a week of youth ridership last month and that impacted the totals."

The Rapid Transit System includes the RapidRide and Dial-A-Ride transportation programs.

For more information about the RTS program, visit www.rapidride.org or call 605-394-6631. In addition, parents and guardians can contact Rapid Transit Service to register for the youth ridership program or go online to rapidride.org and click on the 'Youth Ride Free' button.

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