Nighttime hours attract burgeoning GVT ridership
The ranks of riders hopping Grand Valley Transit buses after-hours are swelling, according to numbers collected by transit officials for the month of September.
GVT began offering extended service on eight routes in March. Since then, riders that formerly rushed for the last bus of the evening at 7:15 p.m. have had the chance to ride up until 10:15 on those routes.
After taking passenger counts of the new nighttime service in May, the numbers recorded for September showed a 26 percent increase in evening riders.
A few of the routes showed a significant bump in nighttime ridership, presumably as GVT users have become more familiar with the extended evening-hour schedule.
In September, the biggest number of nighttime riders took Route 9, which follows North Avenue. That route saw a 38 percent increase over May in evening ridership, with 44 passengers counted on the evening of Sept. 11. The Midtown Route 5 increased nighttime ridership by a whopping 343 percent, when 31 passengers were counted by transit officials. Route 10 to Clifton and Route 3 along Orchard Avenue had the next-highest number of evening transit users, with 26 and 23 passenger boardings, respectively, counted on the evening of Sept. 11.
One route, between Grand Junction and Palisade, showed a lack of ridership at night. Just seven people rode the GVT on the night passenger counts were taken in September.
“(The Grand Valley Regional Transportation Committee is) continuing to monitor this, and they want to make sure that the service we’re providing is efficient,” said Todd Hollenbeck, manager of the Mesa County Regional Transportation Planning Office, which oversees GVT operations. He said they’ll continue to track passenger numbers and evaluate routes as needed.
The number of nighttime passengers comprise just a fraction of GVT’s total passenger count. In September, nighttime riders made up just 5.6 percent of total ridership.
That said, Hollenbeck said overall ridership numbers for October are on track to reach 95,000 riders, which would be an all-time record for GVT.
“Generally, what we’re seeing is that our ridership is expanding throughout the entirety of the day,” Hollenbeck said. “But if October holds true, then obviously there’s a trend that’s changing there as well.”