Valley Ride sent out a press release today on Dump the Pump Day, which is Thursday. More on that tomorrow. The real news gem - buried midway through the release - is this: During the first eight months (October 2007 through May 2008) of its current fiscal year, Valley Ride has seen:
• A 78 percent increase in riders on the Intercounty bus line from Nampa/Caldwell to Boise, compared to the same period last year.
• A 7.3 percent jump in Boise fixed-line ridership, compared to last year. When gas prices vaulted to more than $3.50 in April and kept climbing, Boise routes have seen an even higher jump in ridership. For example, the ParkCenter Route No. 1 has seen a 41 percent increase in ridership in April 2008, compared to April last year.
• A 4 percent bump in Nampa/Caldwell fixed-line ridership, compared to last year.
That's all great news. And there's more here:
Intercounty ridership hit an all-time high in April 2008 with 11,338 riders, compared to 5,904 in April 2007, a 92 percent hike in ridership on the most congested and heavily used transportation corridor in southwest Idaho. In the Boise area, 92,873 people rode the bus in April, compared to 77,785 in April 2007.
“It’s great to see more people using ValleyRide services across the valley, and we know that increased fuel prices has a lot to do with it,” said Kelli Fairless, executive director of Valley Regional Transit. “If people haven’t ridden the bus for a while, they should know that we have tweaked our route schedules to increase trip speed and make it more convenient to get to where they need to go.”
Bus travel will get even more convenient when Valley Ride moves to its fixed-stop system later this summer. Now if only we could eke out a few more hours of service in the evenings and more frequent service midday, there's no telling how many people might start riding the bus.