Ridership on Metropolitan Transit System buses and trolleys in March set a record for the month, partially because of high gas prices and increased employment, the agency announced Thursday.
Nearly 7.8 million trips were taken last month, up 1.2 percent over the same period in 2011, according to the MTS. The agency said the number of trolley passengers was 3.8 percent higher than March 2011 and there were 0.7 percent more bus riders.
This past February also had that month's most riders ever, according to the MTS. Fuel prices have been over $4 a gallon for regular gas and, while unemployment is up, so is the number of people who are employed, thanks to a bigger labor pool.
For the first three quarters of the fiscal year ended March 31, ridership on buses and trolleys was up by 5.1 percent over the same period the previous year, to 66.12 million.
The MTS is planning to increase the frequency and hours of service, including adding more Sunday trips.
"We want to add services that will best meet the demand and provide the best opportunity for people to access our system," said Paul Jablonski, the transit agency's CEO. "Monthly passes that provide unlimited rides on our entire system can be cheaper than just one tank of gas."
The additions, made possible by higher revenues, could begin in September.
—City News Service