More people riding city buses nationally - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

More people riding city buses nationally

A record number of Americans are turning to public transportation to get around.

Ridership data released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association shows nearly 10.7 billion trips in 2013. That's the highest total since 1956.

While more people are using public transit at the national level, local officials say that same trend doesn't hold true in Quincy.

Nearly 1,400 people caught a ride on Quincy Transit Lines Monday. At 50 cents a fare, it's a cheap way to get around that Quincy riders say they depend on.
"I use the bus system every day almost," Birty Clayton said. "It's very effective. I don't have a vehicle, and I really can't afford one right now."
"I use it to go to work, and if I didn't have it, I'd either have to walk to work or I'd have to catch somebody else for a ride," Larry Hull said.
But even with loyal riders, so far this year Quincy Transit Lines has served about 431,126 riders. That's nearly 2,500 fewer than this time last year.
Quincy Transit Director Marty Stegeman says the harsh winter we've had, has a lot to do with it.
"We've closed the Transit Lines early a couple of days in February, and we shut down entirely one day in February," Stegeman said. "Our average ridership would be on par, or a little up, had we not shut down those days."
Even though Stegeman expects numbers to go back up, he says the city is working with the Illinois Department of Transportation to get a route study underway.

Stegeman says the study will be used to determine if the current routes and prices are efficient for the needs here in Quincy.
"A route study basically determines if our routes are running efficiently," Stegeman said. "Do we need to adjust them in some manner to account for traffic and passenger counts? It's basically an overall look at the program, and what recommendations they might have."

Stegeman says that study likely won't happen for another couple months. But he says as for now, the 50 cent ride is here to stay.
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