Thursday January 12, 2012
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TARC is receiving another $1 million in federal funding to continue frequent bus service for another year on its two most popular routes.
Ridership has increased 20 percent on the routes – Dixie and Preston highways (Rt. #18) and Broadway and Bardstown Road (Rt. #23) - since last February when buses began arriving at stops every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. on weekdays. The 20 percent increase is based on ridership for both routes during the first 10 months of the frequent service compared to the same 10 months a year earlier.
“This second $1 million for another year reflects the success of frequent bus service and we greatly appreciate the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for authorizing this funding,” said J. Barry Barker, executive director of TARC.
“The significant increase in ridership demonstrates that Louisville will embrace public transportation that is convenient and frequent,” he said. “We have eased crowding on these routes and eliminated the need to check a schedule to know when a bus is arriving.”
The two routes carry 30 percent of TARC’s ridership - 15,500 passengers per day, 2,500 more than before the frequent service began on the core portions of the two routes. Two additional afternoon trips will be added, beginning Jan. 29, to Rt. 18 to alleviate overcrowding.
TARC received an initial $1 million last year in U.S. Department of Transportation Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds authorized by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to add service to the routes as part of a one-year demonstration project.
Barker was joined today by Mayor Greg Fischer, Congressman John Yarmuth and TARC Board Chairman Cedric Merlin Powell to announce the additional funding at a news conference at TARC’s Union Station.
“Public transportation is vital for access to jobs and educational opportunities,” Fischer said, noting that 70 percent of TARC passengers are going to and from work or school. “We’re excited about the success of these routes and look forward to more and better public transportation service in Louisville.”
Yarmuth said the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program was established to help communities improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion.
“This is a win-win federal investment,” Congressman Yarmuth said. “The more Louisvillians are able to choose the bus over a car, the cleaner our air will be. That means a healthier city and healthier citizens.”
Passengers have told TARC the frequent service has made their lives and commutes easier.
Jeff Hipsher, a Highlands resident and student at Spalding University, said he rides the Broadway-Bardstown Road route daily. “It’s a really easy way for me to get to school and work on time,” he said. “Knowing the bus is arriving every 15 minutes makes it really easy for me and my morning routine.“
Vic Miller, owner of Vic’s Classic Bikes in the Highlands on Bardstown Road, also rides that route which is within a mile of his house.
“I can ride my bike from my house to the stop, put my bike on the front of the bus and it’ll drop me off right in front of my store,” he said. “In the afternoon, I know it’s coming and I can hop on it in front of my store. Very convenient.’
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