The price of gasoline is a major factor in future popularity of riding a bus in the Kansas City area. It may take months to measure the effect.
The volume of filled seats on ATA buses is starting the year in an encouraging way. Figures released today show a nearly 20 percent rise in ridership the first two months of this year.
Cindy Baker of the KCATA cites 18.8 percent more riders on its Metro and Max routes than the same period of 2011.
Transit authority numbers indicate average weekday ridership in January went up 17 and a half percent over the same period a year earlier. It amounted to 53,958 passengers.
Predicting what happens the rest of the year is a chancier proposition, says Baker. And it’s hard to say when ridership will spike--“we don’t think gas prices have done it yet. We think it’s still coming and usually it takes people two or three months to think about riding the bus due to gas prices before they actually take the plunge.”
Current popularity resulting in the rise in ridership early this year, according to Baker, is a product of a mild winter, somewhat lower unemployment and free bus trips for UMKC students.