Mountain Line Sets Ridership Record, Breaks 2 Million Riders
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (July 25, 2017) – Mountain Line made ridership history in Fiscal Year 2017, breaking the 2 million rider mark for the first time in the agency’s history, and surpassing the previous record by nearly 8 percent.
The official ridership tally for July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 was 2,077,057. When Mountain Line started in 2001, the annual ridership was just shy of 200,000, and the agency hit the 1 million rider mark in 2009. Ridership increased significantly in 2012 with the addition of Route 10 (Mountain Link), connecting the Northern Arizona University (NAU) campus with the Woodlands Village area and downtown Flagstaff.
With the increased ridership, Mountain Line also increased amenities and access for riders. Through a $516,000 Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) grant (total project cost was $540,000), Mountain Line evaluated and prioritized bus stops system-wide for ADA accessibility, ultimately improving 27 stops, or about 16 percent of the system. Improvement projects included developing safe landing areas, fixing broken asphalt, adding sidewalk connectivity, and placing bus shelters where appropriate.
“A history of consistent ridership growth, combined with a commitment to aggressively pursuing grant funding and finding operational efficiencies, has defined Mountain Line’s 16 years of service in Flagstaff,” said Flagstaff City Councilmember and NAIPTA Board Chair Scott Overton.
Mountain Line also saw a ridership boost in Fiscal Year 2017 from a pilot program with Coconino Community College (CCC) that allows all students and staff to ride any Mountain Line route for free. During the 2016-2017 school year, more than 55,000 rides were attributed to this program, and ridership at the two stops in front of the CCC Lone Tree Campus increased 42 percent over the previous year.
As the NAU population increases, ridership is expected to continue growing at a modest rate. Mountain Line will also conduct an extensive outreach campaign to downtown businesses and patrons, suggesting transit as an affordable and convenient alternative to parking a personal vehicle when the Downtown Parking Plan is implemented.
NAIPTA is the transit agency in northern Arizona operating the Mountain Line, Mountain Lift and Mountain Link systems in Flagstaff. NAIPTA also coordinates services with Campus Shuttle Service at Northern Arizona University.