Grand Valley Transit ridership hits all-time high
Passenger trips in September up 15 percent over last year
Grand Valley Transit ridership surged to an all-time high in September, a boost officials attributed to the sagging economy and the bus service’s new south downtown transfer station.
Grand Valley Transit registered 75,711 passenger trips last month, a 15 percent jump over the same time last year. That increase capped a 12-month period in which the bus service generated more than 150,000 more passenger trips than the 12-month period between September 2007 and September 2008.
The 75,711 passenger trips last month marked the ninth time Grand Valley Transit has exceeded the 70,000 passenger-trip threshold in its nine-year existence. That threshold has been broken six times this year, a fact operators say coincides with the recession.
“They’re definitely seeing a spike since the economy has taken such a downturn,” Mesa County spokeswoman Jessica Peterson said.
Grand Valley Transit administrators also credit the June opening of a new $4 million transfer station at Fifth Street and South Avenue. It replaced a temporary transfer station that had to be set up at Seventh and South after Grand Valley Transit lost its primary station at Mesa State College because of campus expansion.
The new transfer station and Grand Valley Transit administration office features public restrooms, passenger shelters, improved lighting and security cameras. Peterson said those amenities, along with the fact passengers don’t have to cross a street to change buses, has made bus service more convenient and quickened bus transfers.
“It’s a very different situation for people riding the bus since that (transfer station) opened,” she said.
Grand Valley Transit officials hope to maintain that high level of ridership in spite of the H1N1 influenza virus. To help accomplish that, bus service workers recently added a midday bus cleaning to the nightly sanitization. Hand sanitizer is also available for the public on each bus.