More people riding Decatur city buses


DECATUR -- A packed city bus isn't a common sight around Decatur, but more people are riding now than ever before.

Decatur Public Transit hit its millionth ride for the year Wednesday.

It seems like the bus doesn't have to be packed to be popular. Some say they do it because it's cheap, others tell WAND it's their only way around town.

But regardless of reason, Decatur's bus rides are on a steady climb. The city's Public Transit ridership is up 5.5% this year, and more people are riding now than years past, according to Decatur Mass Transit Administrator Paul McChancy.

According to the Public Transit figures, there were 1.3 million bus and trolley rides in 2011. That's an average of 109,000 rides each month.

By tracking numbers through August 2012, there were over 903,000 rides. That's an average of nearly 113-thousand rides each month.

McChancy told WAND there is a reason for part of the spike in ridership this year.

"We think a lot of it has to do with the economy and the price of gasoline," McChancy said. "But we also got a healthy boost this year with the changes at Eisenhower High School."

McChancy said many students that used to walk to Eisenhower must now take city buses to and from school each day.

Public Transit said it added more buses this year to keep up with the new student demand.

McChancy said at least 100 Eisenhower students depend on the buses each day, on top of the kids who already ride to and from MacArthur High School.

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