Big boost in bus ridership

By Maura Wery

The new school year has brought an influx of riders to the ATA Bus service, the agency’s administrator said Monday.

ATA director Anne Smith briefed county commissioners on the status of the service during Monday’s commission meeting, reporting that just during the first four days of last week the service recorded 3,642 rides, which breaks down to about 910 rides per day.

With several days remaining in the month, Smith told commissioners she believes the agency will establish a new monthly ridership record. The service transported 5,827 passengers in August of 2011, the previous high.

“In August of 2009 we had 3,195 rides in the whole month,” said Smith. She added that all the agency’s vehicles are being used during the school week.

Smith also announced finalization of two fixed route plans. One runs every half hour southeast to northwest from Fort Riley Boulevard to Gary Avenue. The other runs hourly southwest to northeast from Target to Butterfield Road.

“We added additional buses to the Jardine route for lunch and dinner,” said Smith. “We also added stops at Dillons in Westloop, Rays Apple Market, Call Hall, and Derby Dining Center.”

Another route and stop is being considered by ATA if there is enough interest; it would run from Ogden to Wal-Mart. “We are going to keep an eye on it and if there is a large interest we will consider adding it,” Smith said.

Commissioner Karen McCulloh was concerned about the availability of signs denoting the fixed route. Currently, there are only a few signs, but Smith said that they are finally breaking through the last hurdles to make signs at all the stops a reality.

“I went to Dodge City this past week and talked with the (Federal Transit Authority) and (Kansas Department of Transportation),” said Smith. “We are going to meet and get a final bid then Riley County can put up the signs.” 

Smith said that K-State was one of the biggest supporters of the bus, and she intends to speak with the president of the student body about an activity fee that would allow students to ride the bus for free.  She also announced that the agency had received a $20,000 grant from the United Way.

Flu Shot

Officials of the Riley County Health Department issued a reminder at Monday’s meeting that flu season is approaching. They are providing flu shots to the public without appointment. For more information on flu shots, individuals can call the Riley County Health Department at (785) 776-4779.


Sales Tax Presentation

Commissioners added details, along with slides from both the city and Chamber of Commerce, to their proposed sales tax presentation Monday. Commissioner Dave Lewis said that the city and chamber’s slides were added after a meeting with all three parties. He said he would like to add the official traffic counts for the roads and bridges onto the presentation before it was finished.

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