Monday, March 1, 2010

Ridership Continiues to Grow

What goes up, must come down

Well not always.

Especially when it comes to gas prices at the pump and ridership on LANTA’s Metro bus system.

How many people ride LANTA Metro buses? More than you realize! Metro attracts people from all walks of life and takes them where they need to go: employment, medical appointments, shopping, church, schools and educational facilities, libraries, parks, family and friend gatherings, just to name a few.

Ridership levels on Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority’s buses appear to follow the course mapped by fuel prices. Bus travel was at its highest during the first half of Fiscal Year 2008-2009 (July 1, 2008 – December 31, 2008). Statistics show that more than 3,175,000 trips were taken on Metro during this time frame.

To what do we credit this factor? Think back: the start of FY 2008-2009 saw a spike in fuel prices. When prices at the pump topped $4 a gallon, some people were motivated to leave their costly vehicles at home and take the bus. As prices slowly began to fall some bus riders returned to driving their personal vehicles, but a great many of them remain steady Metro customers.

LANTA’s ridership for the first half of the current Fiscal Year 2009-2010 (July 1, 2009 – December 31, 2009) comes in a tad lower than the previous fiscal year, at 3,140,304 passenger trips.

This is only 1.1 percent less than the previous period. LANTA has retained an impressive 90% of the rider growth gained during the gas price surge! Obviously, those who gave the bus a try, liked the experience and are still enjoying the savings even as gas prices have dropped to around $2.60 a gallon - about a 35% drop from the $4 high last year!

Through the new Moving LANTA Forward transit development plan for restructured and expanded service, Metro will become accessible to more people.

It looks as if the sky's the limit for gaining new riders and once people climb aboard, they tend to become loyal Metro riders.

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