Use of COTA, carpooling increases as price of gasoline soars
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 3:15 AM
As gas prices rise, so does bus ridership and carpooling.
From January through May 4, COTA recorded about 5.2 million rides, up 7.2 percent compared with the same period last year. Ridership in April was up 17.5 percent over the same month in 2007.
“That is big,” said Marty Stutz, Central Ohio Transit Authority spokesman. “We had 1.4 million rides in April.”
COTA added buses May 5 to busy routes.
The authority began receiving money this year from a tax levy that voters approved in 2006, which is helping finance the service changes, Stutz said.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission said it has received 15 to 20 calls a day since mid-April from people interested in its carpooling program.
“We have matched 180 participants in the last month,” said Lynn Robinson, MORPC’s RideSolutions program. “I would say that is at least a 30 percent increase in what we normally do.”
Pickerington resident Jean Drummond, her husband, Jim, and a co-worker who lives in Canal Winchester started carpooling weeks ago after a gallon of regular hit $3.69.
“We had all sort of said, ‘We need to start doing this,’ ” said Drummond, 54.
They meet at a parking lot off I-70, then drop Jim at work Downtown at Abbott Nutrition. Mrs. Drummond and the co-worker head to the Polaris area, where they work at RelayHealth.
“It has worked out great,” Mrs. Drummond said. “The only unknown part is we are unsure of where to park our car when we meet in the morning.”
That problem should be resolved by the city of Pickerington’s rideshare program, to begin next week. People signing up for the program will park at designated locations in the city and share rides.
COTA Ridership Surges 17.5%
May 14, 2008 by John