Bloomington Transit Ridership Dips, Still Higher Than Other Cities

20 Feb Bloomington Transit Ridership Dips, Still Higher Than Other Cities

The bus station in Bloomington.

Photo: Indiana Public Media

The bus station in Bloomington.

Bloomington officials say the number of riders using the public transit system is lower than in previous years.

The number of riders decreased 4.1 percent last year, for a total of 3.3 million riders in 2017. This comes after Bloomington peaked in 2014 with about three and a half million riders.

Bloomington Transit General Manager Lew May says the city’s transit system is doing better than any other Indiana urban area.

“About 70 percent of our total riders are college students,” May says. “You’ve got a population of about 84,000 in Bloomington. They’re almost half of the total population in Bloomington, and they use public transportation to a much greater degree than others in the community.”

Limited on-campus parking, traffic congestion and expensive parking permits cause many students to choose public transportation.

May says a big reason why rider numbers are down is because the city doesn’t have the money to improve current services.

“This is going to require additional public investment in transit and it’s going to be incumbent upon us to advocate for increased investment in public transportation,” he says.

May says they are working with Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) to advocate for more public investment and local funding.

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