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Route Changes, Special Events Boost Cap Metro Ridership Numbers
The legend of the empty Capital Metro buses maybe de riding into the sunset. Cap Metro is reporting record ridership and their passengers are backing up the claim. Frequent rider Michelle Cerda says, "That bus by afternoon will be so packed, lined up all the way from the back to the front and we're all packed like sardines."
Crowded, yes. But 34 million? That's how many rides Capital Metro reported last year. The improved numbers come-- in part-- from route changes that replaced some long runs into downtown with feeder buses where riders must then transfer to crosstown buses to get downtown. Cap Metro's CEO Linda Watson says population shifts prompted the changes. She adds, "We adjust our services to accommodate those changes, and every single time we make those changes we see ridership increases."
It's important to note that Capital Metro is counting "rides" not "riders." So if you hop on the bus you're one ride. If you have to transfer to another bus you're two rides. If you have to retrace your steps home you count for four rides that day.
Cap Metro's 2012 total was also helped by spikes caused by SXSW where Watson says "it's a more youthful crowd and they really do tend to ride transit more," and by Formula 1 where Watson explains, "We provided a special circulator service in the downtown area for Formula 1 and saw great ridership numbers on that."
One more thing helping Cap Metro: gas prices. More than one rider told us they have a car, but high gas prices told them it was time to take the bus instead.
By Fred Cantu