The Port Authority believes higher gas prices are pushing more commuters to consider transit. Ridership was up about six percent in July. The greatest increase was on the light rail system, which saw a more than 17% jump on an average weekday. Port Authority spokesman David Whipkey says that may be partly because construction on the light rail system last summer kept ridership numbers down.
Whipkey says the Port Authority wants to keep its new customers even if gas prices fall further. He says the agency is trying to publicize how much money consumers can save by taking the bus rather than paying for gas and parking. He also says the Port Authority is working on ways to address potential capacity problems that can come with higher ridership. The agency has been holding public meetings to gain input about where bus routes should go.
Higher ridership on the light rail system can also mean greater competition for park and ride spots. Whipkey says if you're new to the system, it helps to get to those lots early, because they fill up fast.