DATA sets fixed route ridership record

By Dustin Ensinger

June 13, 2014

By Dustin Ensinger

With steep price increases implemented on the Delaware Area Transit Agency’s (DATA) demand-response trips to offset drastic funding reductions, more people have been taking advantage of DATA’s fixed route service.

May was a record setting month for DATA with nearly 5,000 fixed route passenger trips.

“I’m excited to continue to see the ridership go up and that more people are taking advantage of the fixed route service,” said DATA Executive Director Denny Schooley.

Last May, the organization logged just under 3,000 fixed route passenger trips.

“People have got the point that they know they can count on the service to continually be running and be on time,” Schooley said.

He also attributed the increase in ridership to the addition of city routes and more community awareness about the public transportation system.

“Right now. from what we’re seeing I think it will continue to increase as more information gets out to the public,” he said.

Just 890 demand-response trips were made in May.

Due to population growth in the county, the public transportation agency was re-designated from a rural transit system to a large, urban transit system by the federal government. The change resulted in the organization losing $700,000 in federal funding.

In the past, DATA was able to use a portion of its federal funding to subsidize demand-response trips. Now the transit system will have to charge passengers the full cost of the trip, in some cases leading to prices increasing by as much as five-fold.

Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.