Increase in RapidRide use attributed to students

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A program that lets students ride public busses for free is helping boost city transit numbers.

In January, ridership was up 30 percent among adults and youths, compared to 2 years ago, thanks to the Youth Ridership Initiative. The RapidRide initiative was created to increase attendance at local schools. Students are also allowed to ride for free outside of school to the library or local recreational facilities. The Rapid Transit System recorded over 41,000 youth and adult passengers last month. 

According to Rapid City Communications Coordinator Darrell Shoemaker, the increased interest in public transportation can be attributed to students who ride for free during the school year.

“People know that it’s a convenient alternative for them, but also amongst the younger folks,” said Shoemaker. “They'll shy away from using a car when they can, and they'll bike to wherever they need to be.”

Students also help set several record days between Jan. 22-24, when 795, 821, and 811 youth trips were reported, respectively. Youth passengers took over 13,000 rides this January, compared to just over 10,000 in January of last year.

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