Bus ridership down 22 percent in year | TheUnion.com

Bus ridership down 22 percent in year

With pricier fares and reduced routes, Gold County Stage Manager Bill Derrick said he wasn’t surprised that fewer Nevada County residents have been riding the bus. According to the latest tallies, 274,700 people rode the Gold Country Stage from July 2003 to June 2004, down 22 percent from the previous year.

Gold County Telecare, which provides rides for disabled and elderly Nevada County residents, also had empty seats last year. Telecare provided 50,655 rides last year, down 20 percent from the previous year, according to Derrick.

Derrick said the decreases were directly related to the recent fare increases and route cancellations.

“Over the last year we’ve reduced service by (about) 18 percent and increased the fares,” Derrick said. “You do those things and that’s what is going to happen.”

Derrick believes the riders will return to the buses, however.

He said current trends, including the price of gas and the county’s demographic makeup – an older population concentrated in western Nevada County – portend an increase in the use of public transportation.

– Becky Trout

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