More students using RapidRide linked to better school attendance

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The city of Rapid City is touting results from the Rapidride Youth Ridership program.

Officials say that it is indeed having an impact on school attendance numbers. The Youth Ridership program offers free rides to area youths 18 and younger. Since September 2016, the number of youth riders has increased by nearly 2,500.

The city and Rapid City Area Schools (RCAS) teamed up to offer this free public transportation in an effort to remedy excuses for students not attending class.

"We have seen some nice improvements in many of our sites," said Dr. Lori Simon, RCAS superintendent. "We do know that due to the flu epidemic and strep throat epidemic in January and February, that we did see a dive in attendance. But we are still looking at the overall numbers and look forward to seeing the final results at the end of the year, because we are continuing to see those positive trends.”

How the program is doing now, compared to January.

The program is offered year-round, so students can continue to hop on the bus for free throughout the summer.     

"That will take kids to movie theaters, libraries, Youth and Family Services, YMCA, Girls Club, Boys Club," Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender said. "It will go everywhere. It's easy to navigate. We want kids to get out of their house get out of their neighborhood and explore Rapid City and see what there is to do."

Allender also hopes the program will encourage people of all ages to consider public transportation in the future.

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