Michigan-based Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) had a record number of passengers boarding buses during fiscal year 2012, providing more than 6.3 million rides and generated the highest annual ridership total since the transportation agency introduced local fixed-route service in 1979.
The new milestone represents a nearly 7% increase in ridership above the FY2011 level, when AATA recorded 5.9 million rides, and is 3% higher than the previous AATA annual ridership record of 6.1 million rides in 2009.
The single-year record comes after AATA garnered national attention for its ridership levels earlier this year. During the first three months of 2012, AATA saw a 9% increase in ridership — the fourth-highest gain in the nation, according to a USA Today report. Only Indianapolis; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Charlotte, N.C., saw bigger increases, according to figures from the American Public Transportation Association.
The long-term growth trend for AATA ridership remains strong, said Chris White, AATA manager of service development. The annual number of riders has increased by more than 50% since 2004, while AATA productivity has improved by 43% during the past eight years. Most of the AATA ridership growth has been on existing service, White noted.