Ridership climbs on NRoute buses

Published 11:41 am Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ridership on NRoute buses increased this month but, because more riders are buying monthly passes, fares were down from the previous month, according to statistics released by the public transportation service Wednesday.

NRoute executive director Evelyn Bumpers distributed the figures at Wednesday’s meeting of the NRoute Transportation Commission. The numbers show that from July 28 through Wednesday, 3,021 people rode NRoute’s buses, up 433 from the period of June 23 to July 27.

August fares, however, were $373 less than July’s total of $2,843. The reason for the difference, Bumpers said, was because many riders were buying 30-day passes for bus service.

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“When you sell more passes, you’re going to have less fares,” she said.

Compared with the previous fiscal year, August’s numbers were 818 riders less than the same period in 2010. Fares totaled $2,470 which were $1,451, or 37 percent, lower than last August.

NRoute’s ridership had been down from the previous year since the 2011 fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2010. One reason for the lower numbers, Bumpers said, was the 2011 Mississippi River Flood, which affected the Kings Community, one of NRoute’s busiest routes.

Kings residents were forced to leave their homes in early May as the Mississippi rose to record heights in Vicksburg, cresting at 57.1 feet on May 19, 14.1 feet above flood stage and 1.3 foot above the Great Flood of 1927.

Some residents are just now beginning to return to the area.

Bumpers said NRoute is redesigning routes, adding they should be ready by the commission’s September meeting.

In other action, the commission:

• Learned from Bumpers that money is available to purchase video cameras and vehicle locating devices for the buses.

She said the $22,598 for the cameras is available through federal transportation and multimodal funds administered through the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The $10,370 for the locating devices will be paid using stimulus funds.

• Learned the transportation system’s fiscal 2010 audit will begin Sept. 6.