Archive for Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ridership on bus system increases in September

October 14, 2009

Advertisement

Kansas University students are driving increased ridership on buses operated by the T, Lawrence’s transit system.

The Lawrence Transit System provided 63,963 rides during September, up 81 percent from 35,276 a year earlier.

Robert Nugent, the city’s transit administrator, attributed the spike to implementation of a coordinated bus route — between the T and KU on Wheels — beginning Aug. 17. The route connects the retail area on South Iowa Street with downtown Lawrence by running through the KU campus.

The increase follows a jump of 37 percent in August.

“The September report reflects a full month of ridership, and the numbers show that people are adjusting well to the new route,” Nugent said.

One-way rides on the bus cost $1, or are free with a valid KUID.

For more information about transit options, visit the T's Web site.

Comments

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 6 months ago

Ridership up 81%??? So, I'm assuming the T has therefore received an 81% increase in revenue. Any plans by the city to return the money tax payers paid to keep this service alive? With an 81% increase in revenue, certainly they are capable of becoming self-sufficient, in which case, lets work on paying back the taxpayers. Or, was the ridership REALLY that low to begin with that even after an 81% increase we still aren't close to self-sufficient status (which begs the question of why we subsidized it in the first place)

matchbox81 5 years, 6 months ago

From what I understand, the shared route uses KU buses while KU is in session, and City buses on evenings, weekends, and when KU is not in session.

puddleglum 5 years, 6 months ago

can't we charge the university a fee for using the name 'lawrence, kansas' on all of its stuff? do the students pay a tax for enjoying all of the roads stoplights police and firefighters that my money pays for? pony up.

bb837988 5 years, 6 months ago

Every time that I have taken the combined route - weekdays - the bus has been a KU bus.

parrothead8 5 years, 6 months ago

It's funny...more people are riding buses, which means fewer cars on the road, and everybody who has commented on this story has a problem with the way it works. I've got a slightly different view.

Benefit #1: Fewer cars on the road means less traffic. Less traffic means those of you still driving your cars spend less time sitting in traffic, which means less wear and tear on your vehicles, better mileage, and less pollution...all of which save YOU money. Not to mention the time you're saving, which I'm sure you're using to your advantage.

Benefit #2: Fewer cars on the road means less wear and tear on the roads. Less wear and tear on the roads means fewer road repairs. Again, saves YOU money.

Benefit #3: More students riding buses means fewer students driving. Since most of the people who comment here can't find a single thing they like about KU and its students, having those dastardly student drivers off the roads should do wonders for your mental well-being.

BigPrune 5 years, 6 months ago

Ridership up 81%, revenues down 81%?

The KU students were bribed with free bus fare on City buses if they voted and passed the sales tax increase last year, which they did.

Traffic counts on major Lawrence thoroughfares - zero net change. The students congest the streets driving to the Park & Ride lot on West Campus. The City owns the 4 buses that take the students up to class. Of course there is an increase in ridership!

justforfun 5 years, 6 months ago

Hey wanna bet the numbers include 1000"s shuttled to and from the KU football games. Do the pro T voters feel all warm and fuzzy inside?? Then pull the rug out come December. :)

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 months ago

Changing the route of the eight and making it the eleven was one of the best things the bus company has done. Now the bus goes right by Vermont Towers, my daughters place and Walmart. The cartiledge is almost gone from my right knee and it is painful to get around so this is an enormous help to me. Also the eleven has a passenger lift for those who have difficulty on the steps at times. I really appreciate having the bus and think the drivers are very good at communicating when you have a problem.

50YearResident 5 years, 6 months ago

Don't forget the free rides downtown to the sidewalk sale? I bet the total increse is "free fares".

50YearResident 5 years, 6 months ago

"One-way rides on the bus cost $1, or are free with a valid KUID" There you go, the answer to incresed ridership! "or ore free with KUID"

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

"Ridership up 81%??? So, I'm assuming the T has therefore received an 81% increase in revenue. Any plans by the city to return the money tax payers paid to keep this service alive?"

No. The bus system is still woefully inadequate in geographic coverage, frequency of service, and hours of operation, so if they find themselves with additional fare revenue, they have an obligation to use it to fund system improvements.

penguin 5 years, 6 months ago

I like to poke fun at the T as much as the next person, but there are some seriously misinformed folks.

Someone asked do the students pay for city services like roads, stoplights...etc. Yes, it's called Sales Tax and they are not exempt. Also some of us even own homes here in Lawrence (we are not all kids straight out of high school). Here again, some of us pay Property Tax. Then again you could argue that renters sort of indirectly pay that, but I do not care to defend that point.

Also for all of you thinking KU is doing nothing in return..they are doing plenty. Their students/riders are ensuring the feds do not pull their grants. If this bus system continued slipping like it was...the transpo funds they get could have been lost. This ridership ensures that the current funding stays in place. Also guess what, more riders=greater potential for more federal dollars. So yes, the students are not paying the $1 fare, but the ability to report increased ridership to the feds will be worth much more than would be generated even if the students were paying the $1 each time.

Also to the person who thinks the City pays for both...wow. They are operated by the same company. The city pays through federal, state and local dollars. KU has a seperate contract that is paid using student fee dollars. Each KU student now pays about $140 give or take for the bus system through mandatory student fees. So no Lawrence does not pay to operate the KU system...KU students do.

Randall Barnes 5 years, 6 months ago

LRM(LAWRENCE READY MIX) sold out today leaving several employees out of a job cause the company wants to pay less for the hard working employees who have been there for several years now my neighbors dad will probably have to sell his home i bet lj world will not mention this part of the story he might have to sell his truck now so ridership will be up 1 more

youarewhatyoueat 5 years, 6 months ago

Believe it or not, ALL PUBLIC TRANSIT is paid for at least in part by taxpayers. This is not unique to Lawrence in any way, and no matter how high the ridership, government money is involved. What the city gets back is an alternative to driving a personal vehicle, which some people can't have for one reason or another, from a disability to an inability to afford it. Other people simply prefer riding the bus (yes, there are people like that out there!)

Hopefully in the coming months and years we do get a more efficient service, though. I think we can all agree on that!

Oh, and the KU Football shuttles are NOT included under T ridership. It is included in KU ridership, which is entirely separate and paid for completely by the University. "Pulling out the rug" also means pulling out probably 50-100 or so jobs, too, which would mean an extra 100 or so collecting unemployment or other forms of gov't assistance.

Lori Nation 5 years, 6 months ago

Hey can my LHS, South jr. high student ride for free if they show them their school id card?? :)

Alexander Neighbors 5 years, 6 months ago

if people push for it I think it could add in bus routs for the local elementary students to get a bus ride to school in the mornin

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

I read part of an article on the Sounder train system that runs in the Seattle area. They have enough ridership that it has saved them from having to add a lane to I-5.

Alexander Neighbors 5 years, 6 months ago

I-5 is Really bad anywhere near Seattle. You are literally insane if you choose to drive your self to Seattle. Your best bet is to take Amtrak and your bike.

headdoctor 5 years, 6 months ago

parrothead8 (Anonymous) says… It's funny…more people are riding buses, which means fewer cars on the road, and everybody who has commented on this story has a problem with the way it works. I've got a slightly different view. Benefit #1: Fewer cars on the road means less traffic. Less traffic means those of you still driving your cars spend less time sitting in traffic, which means less wear and tear on your vehicles, better mileage, and less pollution…all of which save YOU money. Not to mention the time you're saving, which I'm sure you're using to your advantage. Benefit #2: Fewer cars on the road means less wear and tear on the roads. Less wear and tear on the roads means fewer road repairs. Again, saves YOU money. Benefit #3: More students riding buses means fewer students driving. Since most of the people who comment here can't find a single thing they like about KU and its students, having those dastardly student drivers off the roads should do wonders for your mental well-being.


I am sure that there will always be those that are bent out of shape over the college kids but I think most people are more bent that instead of the city using their head and trying to fix the botched bus system, the answer was stick their hands a little deeper into the tax payers pockets.

Even though they have added a route and are working on some ideas, the city can't seem to get their brain wrapped around the idea that there are potential riders that have no desire to take a joy ride just for the view of of downtown just to make a connection to go back the way they really wanted to go in the first place.

quimby 5 years, 6 months ago

all this talk about how the bus system being subsidized is such a travesty makes me ill. you know that ALL forms of transportation are heavily subsidized, right? it's just that noone bothers to bring that up in regards to roads b/c it's the midwest and god forbid that we actually care about walking, biking, transit.

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

parrothead8 (Anonymous) says…

"It's funny…more people are riding buses, which means fewer cars on the road, and everybody who has commented on this story has a problem with the way it works. I've got a slightly different view."

Yes, you do. Unfortunately it's based on faulty assumptions.

You assume that every trip taken on the bus would have been taken had there been no bus.

You assume that every trip that would have been made anyway would have been made in a car.

You assume that every trip made by car is less efficient/less polluting than those made by bus.

Three people riding in a passenger car cause less pollution and less road wear than two people on a bus. And many of those trips wouldn't have been made by car, many would have been made on foot or on bicycles - meaning riding the bus actually ADDS to pollution. Besides that, many of the trips wouldn't have been made at all.

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says…

"I read part of an article on the Sounder train system that runs in the Seattle area. They have enough ridership that it has saved them from having to add a lane to I-5."

When Lawrence has a population of over 600,000 and another 2.7 million living in the surrounding metro area, maybe they could support a public transportation system, too.


penguin (Anonymous) says…

"Someone asked do the students pay for city services like roads, stoplights…etc. Yes, it's called Sales Tax and they are not exempt. Also some of us even own homes here in Lawrence (we are not all kids straight out of high school). Here again, some of us pay Property Tax. Then again you could argue that renters sort of indirectly pay that, but I do not care to defend that point."

Everyone else pays for that stuff too, penguin. But they still have to pay for the bus.

Danimal 5 years, 6 months ago

Getting KU students to ride the T is the only thing keeping it in existence at this point. For all of you our there who are crying about KU students not paying for streets, emergency services, etc, stop being ridiculous. KU students pay a lot of sales tax in Lawrence, and a lot of rent, part of which pays property taxes. KU is the backbone of Lawrence's community and economy. I'm glad to see that public transit is doing better, bring on the monorail!

d_prowess 5 years, 6 months ago

I was a supporter of the taxes to continue the T however there was a lot of talk back then about changes that needed to be made in order to get from place to place easier and quicker. And in order to make those changes, we needed the funds to continue the program (obviously).
But I feel like I have not heard of any improvements to the system and routes yet. I know linking the KU and city systems was one thing and that has been done (kudos) but I don't think that has come close to solving the problem of getting around quickly. I understand that this takes time, but I would like an update on that process at least so I know I didn't fund something for nothing.

penguin 5 years, 6 months ago

Even with big systems fares are not huge parts of the budget: NYC 65%, Chicago 35%, LA 22% (this could have changed if there have been recent rate hikes). However, this is a percentage of their budget which in each of these cities is massive. So more non-fare dollars are paying for these systems.

For all of you who want to complain about KU students getting a "free ride" they are not. They pay at minimum $140 for busing in Lawrence. The increased coordination of the systems that is coming will have an effect on who pays for which parts of the system in the near future.

Also as said many times before without KU riders the system is dead, but then again many people in this town just take so much joy in failure.

penguin 5 years, 6 months ago

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/02/04/us/04transit_map.html. This article disputes the 65% figure I found for NYC.

A better comparison of the amount a number of systems are subidized.

Yes a percentage is a percentage, but 90% of 4 million is substantially less than 65% of 11.9 Billion (The cost of the NYC MTA http://www.mta.info/mta/network.htm) in dollars. I didn't think it required a degree in mathematics to figure out that we are not subdizing a system to the dollar level that other systems have to be subsidized. They are bigger, but it would be much easier to support the entire T budget than even a fractional cost of the NYC MTA.

However, here again just more people complaining that they feel that if a service does not benefit them than they should not have to pay for it. This new conservative mantra is well just sad. It used to be that even conservatives subscribed to the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes "taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

In the end...there was a vote....the people voted....you lost...the end.

d_prowess 5 years, 6 months ago

Penguin, I agree with you about the people voting for this system and I was thankful for the opportunity to continue its operation. However, a lot of campaigning for the positive vote focused on the need to do more than just consolidate it with the KU system. The city and the city council said that they needed to make changes in order to make the system viable going foward (viable, not self-sustaining since that will never happen, and I personally think that is Ok).
So I now wish we could hear more about what is being done to make the system better for its riders. Is there a time line for improvement? Did they hire someone to tackle this task?
Just some kind of update with goal dates would make me, and maybe others that voted in support of the T, content with their decision. And hold the city accountable!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.