Appeal-Democrat Archive Writing

Bus business booming

July 20, 2007

More people are catching a bus ride in Yuba-Sutter because of higher gas prices and programs finally coming into bloom, according to a system performance report.

Fixed route and Sacramento commuter ridership has increased by more than 10 percent compared to last year, according to the 2006-07 report. Fare revenues increased by around 11 percent.

Part of the reason for the increase in riders is the ever-increasing cost of gas, making bus fare a better deal, said Keith Martin, Yuba-Sutter Transit manager.

“It’s a great motivator to move people onto the bus,” he said.

An unexpected side effect of a youth program also helped boost ridership. Riders between 5 and 18 years old can buy a monthly pass for $5. This is a significant discount for riders between 12 and 18 who would normally pay $1 for a one-way ticket. Those savings resulted in 63 percent more youth pass purchases than last year, according to the report.

Even more surprising is that youth paying by cash instead of buying a pass also increased, Martin said.

“We thought we’d lose a lot of cash riders,” he said. “It looks like youth with the passes are bringing their friends with them.”

With more improvements planned, Martin said he expects more riders to avoid the gas pumps and take the bus.

The report was presented during the Yuba-Sutter Transit board of directors meeting Thursday.

The transit system is also holding a public hearing Aug. 9 to consider adding two new morning and two new afternoon runs to Sacramento, bringing to 21 the number of weekday commuter or mid-day rides to the capital.

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