Taypayer funded improvements to the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority started rolling out a month ago.
In May, voters approved a tax hike to expand AAATA services by 44 percent over a five year period. The improvement implementation plan started last month with changes that include expanded hours on 19 routes and a new route in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township.
Officials with The Ride say ridership on existing routes has stayed about the same, but people are utilizing the later hours. Don Kline, AAATA's Integrated Marketing Coordinator, says word is spreading about the new route. "The first Monday we had almost 170 rides given and granted it was a new service, the word was still getting out. The week later we had 197 rides," Kline says.
The biggest jumps in overall ridership aren't expected until 2016. That's when 19 new buses will be running and major expansions to the A-Ride service area go into place. Specialized services for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities are also being expanded. Once completed the improvement plan is expected to generate at least $4.4 million annually.