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Record Numbers Turn to CATA for Transportation

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Categories: General

May 22, 2008
Contact- Pat Gilbert

Lansing, MI-CATA increased fares and pass prices on April 7, 2008. Ridership normally drops after fares go up. Contrary to that trend, CATA recorded its highest April ridership ever with customers taking 1,154,241 CATA rides. This marked the 6th time in 7 months that CATA monthly ridership exceeded 1 million rides. This total represents a system-wide (all services) increase of 5% compared with April of last year.

As gas prices soar and people look for ways to save money, more people than ever before are leaving their cars at home and using the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) for travel in Ingham County (see a map of CATA's service area). In FY05, CATA broke the 9-million ride mark. In FY06, passengers took a record 10 million rides and that number rose to 10.7 million in FY07. CATA is well on its way to breaking that record this year.

'Buses on some routes are filled to capacity during popular commuting times and we are seeing more and more work commuters on board. We try to have extra buses ready to go at peak times to be sure we aren't leaving anyone behind at the bus stop,' said CATA CEO/Executive Director Sandy Draggoo. 'This continued growth in local ridership demonstrates how important public transportation is to our community, especially when gas prices are hitting $4 a gallon.'

Urban fixed-routes (excludes MSU on-campus routes) increased nearly 20% last month (April 2008) when compared with April 2007. This represents the largest increase in ridership on urban fixed-routes ever. The previous record was 16.9% in February of 2008. Urban route ridership grew at least 8% every month this calendar year compared to the previous year.

Spec-Tran (CATA's advance-reservation service for persons with disabilities) saw a 12% ridership increase, comparing April 2007 with April 2008.

On an average weekday passengers take over 49,000 rides on CATA. This figure is second only to the City of Detroit among public transportation systems in the State of Michigan. CATA year-to-date ridership for the first seven months of FY2008 (October 2007 - April 30, 2008) is 7,704,394.

Here are some of the largest ridership growth areas, comparing April 2007 to April 2008:

 CATA Route  April '08 vs. April "˜07 rides  Avg. weekday rides- April "˜08
 Route 1 East Lansing-Meridian Mall  25,000+  6,500
 Route 5 South Cedar-Edgewood  nearly 10,000  2,000
 Route 8 South Pennsylvania-Holt  10,000+  1,500
 Route 9 S. Martin Luther King-Miller nearly 6,000  nearly 1,600
 Route 14 North Grand River-Airport  5,000+  nearly 800
Route 20 South Harrison nearly 5,000
nearly 800
Route 26 Abbot-Chandler
14,000+ 2,900

How Much do you Save Compared to Driving Alone?

Households that use only public transportation save the costs of vehicle ownership, maintenance and fuel. According to the Public Transportation and Petroleum Savings Report, a two-worker household that uses public transportation instead of driving a car can save $6,251 annually.

EPA estimates that an average carpooler paying average gas costs of $3.80 per gallon gas x 500 gallons of gas/year = cost savings of $1,900/year per carpooler. 

CATA offers resources to help first time public transit users:

Customer Service 394-1000
Sat-Sun 9AM-5PM

Clean Commute Options 393-RIDE (393-7433)
Car and vanpool service

Email when and where you want to go on CATA and we will tell you how.

Rider Alerts: call 367-7277 or visit the Rider Alerts section.

View tips for how to ride CATA.

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