For the third year in a row, the city’s bus service has been awarded the highest ridership in the state of Kansas.
Lawrence Transit and the University of Kansas, which operate the coordinated transit system, received the award this week from the Federal Transit Administration.
“It just shows that we’ve made some tremendous strides over the last eight years improving the service and as a result ridership has increased,” said Robert Nugent, transit administrator for the city.
From 2015 to 2016, ridership increased by about 375,000 riders, which is the highest increase of any urban transit provider in the state of Kansas, according to a city news release. Nugent said transit riders in Lawrence now make more than 3 million trips annually.
The city of Lawrence and the university merged their bus services in 2009, and figures include ridership numbers from both the city and KU.
“KU and Lawrence community members continue to demonstrate the value and importance of transit in their lives,” Danny Kaiser, associate director of parking and transit at KU, said in the release.
Nugent attributed the increase in ridership to increased service frequency. He said almost all routes in Lawrence now have service every 30 minutes as opposed to every 60, making people more apt to ride.
“Your ridership keeps going up every time you increase your service,” Nugent said. “You can imagine if you were wanting to catch a bus and it was five minutes after and you had to wait another 55 minutes.”
The award was presented Tuesday at the Kansas Public Transit Association Annual Meeting and Expo in Garden City.