McAllen ridership hits record high

McAllen ridership hits record high
MGN ONLINE
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Monday, August 12, 2013 - 12:52pm

60,000 trips a month on Metro McAllen bus system

Metro McAllen ridership grew 18 percent the first nine months of the fiscal year recording all-time high passenger numbers and setting up a third straight year of double-digit growth for the public bus system.

From October 2012 through June 2013, Metro McAllen logged 531,900 passenger trips – an 80,000 ridership increase over the previous year’s first nine months. Ridership hit record highs for every month over the nine-month period. October recorded the most number of trips ever for a single month in Metro McAllen’s history with 63,306.

The 18 percent increase comes on the heels of fiscal year 2012’s 29% growth, and 2011’s 14% rise in Metro McAllen users. The City bus system is in its 8th-straight year of positive growth. The most recent increases come after the system expanded service hours in 2012 and added downtown trolley service in 2013, although those moves can only account for some of the growth.

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said he is proud of what the system has been able to accomplish.

“We’re a fast growing city that needs public transportation as part of our overall strategy to create more economic development opportunities and move McAllen forward,” said Mayor Darling. “Good, dependable bus service is very important to thousands of city residents that use it to get to work, for school, to take care of personal business and other essential trips.”

Metro McAllen operates seven fixed bus routes, a downtown trolley circular, occasional park-and-ride service and paratransit in the City. The seven fixed routes carry the lion’s share of passengers. So far this fiscal year Route 4, which serves McAllen’s hospital and shopping districts in the southeast section of the City, recorded the highest ridership among all seven routes with 135,139 in the nine months.

Should ridership maintain its current levels for the last three months of FY 2013, Metro McAllen is projected to record more than 700,000 trips for the year – close to 100,000 more than the previous year and another record high. The fiscal year ends September 30.

The expansion of service, beginning January FY 2012 added more hours to daily bus service on some fixed routes Monday through Saturday. Through the first nine months of FY 2013, the extended hours allowed 64,599 more riders to use the bus service. Metro McAllen also has 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday services. Regular fares are $1.

“Metro McAllen's ridership growth is evidence that our transit system has become a vital link for employment, healthcare and education,” said City of McAllen Transit Director Elizabeth Suarez. “We are happy to celebrate its success and are committed to continued expansion and growth.”

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