Bloomington-Normal's bus system ended its budget year with a 9.2% increase in riders.
Connect Transit said the 2,446,527 rides provided is the third highest year on record. That's a jump of a couple hundred thousand from Fiscal Year 2018 and topped the previous third highest in 2016.
In that three-year period, comparable bus systems have seen an average decrease of 7.7%.
Connect Transit General Manager Isaac Thorne said Bloomington-Normal has bucked the national trend because of its route restructuring in 2016. Thorne said that realignment offered more frequency and better on-time performance of buses.
“Customers have responded to multiple rider surveys indicating frequency of service and on-time performance of service being the two most important items,” said Thorne.
Thorne said comparable systems include college towns with similar populations. Among that cohort are places like Columbia, S.C., Greenville, S.C., and Lafayette, Ind., said Thorne.
In the last decade, Connect Transit passenger trips have increased 75.92%.
Connect Transit fixed route ridership has grown for 13 straight months, said Thorne.
As a matter of disclosure, Connect Transit Board Chair Mike McCurdy is also the WGLT program director.
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