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Transit growth rockets

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:48 PM

The organization set two ridership records in what transit officials are calling the busiest 12 months in Tri-Cities public transit history.

In 2013, they provided a total of 200,437 rides — a 6.4 percent increase from 2012.

“No doubt the expansion of our service area into Grand Haven Charter Township had an impact with respect to this increase,” Grand Haven Transportation Director Tom Manderscheid said. “But we were pleased to see the other long-standing areas we serve also experienced solid growth in ridership.”

Manderscheid said while the numbers aren’t surprising, it shows that the service is something people rely on. He noted that if everyone in the Harbor Transit service area rode the bus in 2013, the number of rides equates to about six rides per person, per year.

“People use us and they use us a lot,” Manderscheid said.

For one day in November, the bus service carried 898 passengers — a single-day record for the service. This number helped to produce ridership for the month that was 1,458 more than the prior year.

“A bus can deliver about six rides per hour, (and) you’ll have to have a lot of buses,” Manderscheid said.

Manderscheid said Harbor Transit operates about 16 buses during peak ridership times. That’s an increase from 11 prior to the expansion into the township.

Ridership was also up in all major categories, with the most significant increases coming from riders ages 50 and older. Students in the service area also showed increased ridership.

“In addition, the several new buses and two new mini-vans have made for better service and quicker pickup times, which have also helped to manage rider demand for service,” Manderscheid said.

A survey of more than 200 riders recently conducted by Harbor Transit indicates people are happy with the service. A total of 90.7 percent of respondents rated the overall level of service as being "excellent" or "good." 

You can see the complete survey results at harbortransit.org.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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