Madison Metro ridership up, higher than other WI communities - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison Metro ridership up, higher than other WI communities

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MADISON (WKOW) -- More people rode Madison buses in 2013 than almost any other year.

Metro Transit recorded more than 14.7 million trips, a one percent increase over 2012. That's in line with the national trend.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released results of an annual report this week that found the highest national public transportation ridership since 1956, with 10.7 billion trips.

Here in Madison, Transit General Manager Chuck Kamp tells 27 News the increase is thanks to new routes, UW-Madison student riders and a community with a focus on sustainability.

"We added about three-percent to our service level, mainly in crowded corridors, like University Avenue and Sheboygan Avenue, but also we added new service to Owl Creek and the far east side and some other areas," says Kamp. "I think that reflects the support in Madison not just by our bus riders but by our elected officials."

Kamp says the city and other local municipalities served by Metro supported an increase in transit services.

Although Madison is only the 95th largest urban area in the nation, Kamp says the city has the 20th best ridership in the U.S.

APTA reports rides are up 37.2 percent nationwide from 1995, but Madison is even father ahead of that, with a 52 percent increase over that same amount of time.

Metro hopes to constantly keep growing to meet the demand in the city. Kamp says the department has reviewed options to bring a bus rapid transit system to Madison. It would offer faster service across town, bus stations rather than shelters in the area of the line, larger buses and up to a 40 percent shorter ride time.

The project is expected to cost at least $190 million. It's a big stretch for a budget that's already struggling to keep up with demand after federal funding cuts. Kamp says it's an investment he thinks the state and cities served by Metro have to get behind.

APTA found Madison's one percent increase in riders in 2013 was ahead of other communities in Wisconsin. Milwaukee lost nearly 2.5 percent of its trips and Racine's ridership was down more than 4 percent.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison Metro Transit saw its second highest ridership of all time in 2013.

Last year Metro recorded more than 14.7 million rides, which is up one percent over 2012. It's second to the record of 14.9 million rides in 2011.

These numbers are in contrast to other communities in Wisconsin. According to a study by the American Public Transportation Association, Milwaukee and Racine both lost ridership in 2013 over 2012.

The report shows public transit ridership is up nationwide by 37.2 percent since 1995. Metro Transit says its ridership has increased 52 percent over that time.

Tonight on 27 News at 6, Jennifer Kliese explains why Madison Metro believes they're seeing such increases.

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