ATA reports ridership is up 50%

By The Mercury

The Area Transportation Agency recorded a nearly 50 percent increase in ridership during 2011.

Ann Smith, ATA director, told county commissioners Thursday that her agency transported 72,139 riders during the year, up from 48,853 during 2010. That translates to a 47 percent ridership increase.

Smith said a regional service begun during the year connecting Junction City to the Manhattan area has already attracted about 9,000 riders. She said discussions are under way to expand that regional service to St. George.

The bus service also agreed with K-State to initiate a fixed route system that will provide service between Jardine Apartments and the Derby and Kramer food centers. Smith said that service grew out of an inquiry over the Christmas break from K-State dining and food service office, which was looking for a means to enable Jardine residents to not have to walk to the two food centers. Although the Jardine apartments have their own kitchens, residents there also have the option of purchasing meal tickets.

Smith said the service, which will also connect to the Child Development Center at KSU, will run every half hour from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will be free to students with KSU IDs. Non-students will be allowed to board for $2.

Salary ordinance

County commissioners gave formal approval Thursday to an ordinance setting salaries for commissioners and other elected or appointed officials for 2012. The ordinance essentially was an adjustment and correction of a similar ordinance approved in November, the adjustment being designed to return county commissioner salaries to their 2011 levels. Each commissioner will continue to earn $36,411.78.

For most of the other affected employees, the ordinance provided an average 3 percent step increase plus a 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment. Elected officials will earn from $82,321.97 (the register of deeds) up to $119,016.88 (the county attorney).

Salaries of health department officials, whose positions were brought directly under county supervision at the first of the year, were included in the document. Those include $94,000 for Susanne Kufahl, the new department administrator.

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