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DTA transported nearly 3.2 million riders in 2009

Published: Expires: 3/2/2010

Duluth Transit Authority ridership for 2009 surpassed the 3 million rider mark for the second consecutive time since 2002. Ridership for 2009, which was down 1.4% from 2008, totaled 3,173,485. DTA ridership has steadily improved over the past few years and is up 21.8 % since 2005.

While transit use is up by all segments of the general population, U-Pass ridership has shown the most consistent gains. The U-Pass program was established in 2000 at UMD and expanded to the College of St. Scholastica (CSS) and Lake Superior College (LSC) in 2001 and University of Wisconsin, Superior (UWS), in 2007. The U-Pass ridership surpassed the 4 million milestone in January 2010. U-Pass ridership at UMD, CSS, LSC and UWS increased by 2.7% in 2009 with 712,030 rides.

DTA Bike & Bus ridership for 2009 also surpassed the previous year’s total. In its 15th year of operation, the Bike & Bus service transported 22,302 bicycles – up 5.6% over last year. For the first time since the Bike & Bus program began 15 years ago, bike racks have remained on buses through the winter months. A study of the winter use will determine if the bike racks will remain on a year-round basis from now on.

STRIDE (Special Transit RIDE) ridership for 2009 also increased by 2.9% with 27,290 rides.

DTA ridership gains parallel the national trend. Americans are using public transportation due to volatile gas prices and inflation. Even though fuel prices have subsided since last fall's high, DTA ridership continues to be strong.

"In the coming months the DTA will be evaluating its options for expanded services. We continue to receive requests for more evening service, later weekend hours and holiday service,” said DTA General Manager, Dennis Jensen. “The makeup of our traditional passenger base is changing and we need to respond to the needs of today's passengers".

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