The spike in gas prices is boosting ridership on Akron's Metro Regional Transit Authority. Metro's Molly Becker tells AkronNewsNow " This year so far in just the first two months, January and February we're up five percent over last year's trips. So we do see an almost immediate increase in ridership because of the high gas prices."
Becker says most of the new passengers were drivers who earn lower income and decided a Metro daily ridership pass was cheaper to get to their destination.
The biggest increase in ridership for Metro comes between Akron and Cleveland. " Our North Coast Express Routes that go from Akron to Cleveland. That service is actually up 18.6% over last year at this time so those are the people who are parking their car here in Akron and taking a bus longer distances," says Becker.
Molly Becker says the increase in passengers is helping Metro's bottom line, and as the demand for service increases Metro is adding a new route. "We're introducing a new Route 26 on Exchange Street in Akron, and that's because we're seeing the need for more services in our area," says Becker.
Becker says Metro will always be an alternative for those who can't afford to pay higher gas prices, and the cost of a ride remains the same. She says unlike other public transit systems Metro has been able to rely on stable sales tax revenue to operate and to add routes when ridership and income increases.