SOUTH BEND The numbers are in, and more trips were taken on public transportation in 2013, than in the past 57 years. A report from the American Public Transportation Association shows 10.7 billion trips nationwide. Those record-breaking numbers prove the highest annual ridership since 1956.
How does public transportation in South Bend compare? Ridership on TRANSPO was down in 2013, but officials say only slightly.
"We actually saw a slight decrease in ridership for the first time, it was very slight, less than one percent," said Amy Hill, the Marketing and Communications Manager for TRANSPO.
While overall numbers were down, some invidual routes did see more ridership.
"One of our big increases was with our 'Route 7,' which serves Notre Dame and University Park Mall," said Hill.
"For our 'Blackthorn Route' we actually saw an increase of about 18%. For the ones serving the mall also about 15-18%," said Hill. "One of our sweep routes, which serves Notre Dame and St. Marys, that was actually up about about 30%."
Public transit agencies nationwide say numbers are up, likely because the economy is "up." When more people are employed, they turn to public transportation. Nearly 60% of the trips taken were for work commutes. But in South Bend's case, economic recovery can be good and bad.
"One of the factors we found is Ivy Tech's enrollment was down about 10% last year," said Hill. "That impacted with the number of students utilizing TRANSPO, we did attribute some of the decrease to that."
You can read the full APTA report on its webpage.