January 04, 2024

Large Increases Seen in Ridership Numbers for Rapid Transit in 2023



Huge spikes seen in both overall and youth ridership

in 2023 compared to previous two years

RAPID CITY, SD—Rapid Transit System (RTS) recorded an enormous spike in both youth and overall ridership in 2023.  In December alone, there were nearly 6,000 more passenger trips recorded in the RTS system compared to December 2022.  The increase in overall ridership last month also includes a jump of more than 2,000 youth passenger trips compared to December 2022.

Overall Ridership:

            Overall RTS ridership increased 14 percent in 2023 with more than 237,000 passenger trips recorded (237,619), compared to more than 203,000 trips (203,242) recorded in 2022.  Last year’s ridership numbers are 19 percent higher than the 191,922 passenger trips recorded in 2021 and 52 percent higher than 2020 when service was suspended or impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (114,477 riders in 2020).

            “It was a very impressive year for public transportation in Rapid City,” said RTS Manager Megan Gould-Stabile.  “There were considerable increases in ridership both in terms of youth using the Youth Ride Free program and overall numbers using our services.”

            Gould-Stabile attributes the increases to public transit becoming an accepted, affordable and convenient form of transportation for many Rapid City residents and a reliable option for getting around the community during the winter season.

            In December, RTS recorded 18,605 passenger trips, a 31 percent jump over the 12,825 trips recorded in December 2022.  Last month’s numbers are also 17 percent higher than the numbers recorded in December 2021 (15,450).

Youth Ridership:

            For youth ridership, the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program recorded a huge spike in 2023.  A total of 44,902 youth passenger trips were recorded during the months school was in session, a 24 percent increase over the 33,937 rider trips recorded for the same period in 2022 and a 32 percent increase over the 30,668 rider trips recorded in 2021.

            In December, RTS recorded 4,174 youth passenger trips, a 49 percent increase over the 2,147 trips recorded in December 2022 and a 35 percent jump over the 2,722 youth trips recorded in the December month of 2021.


            For more information about the RTS program, visit www.rapidride.org or call 605-394-6631.  In addition, parents and guardians can contact Rapid Transit Service to register for the youth ridership program or go online to rapidride.org and click on the ‘Youth Ride Free’ button.

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