'YOUTH RIDE FREE' PROGRAM CONCLUDES
SUCCESSFUL THIRD SCHOOL YEAR OF RIDERSHIP
More than 115,000 youth passenger trips recorded in 2018-19 school year
RAPID CITY, SD--Rapid Transit System recorded more than 115,000 youth passenger trips during the 2018-19 school year, concluding the third academic year in which the City's youth could utilize public transportation free of charge.
Youth ridership totaled 115,319 passenger trips in the 2018-19 school year. The number is a slight two percent decline from the 117,459 youth passenger trips recorded during the 2017-18 school year (September-May), and is 30 percent higher than the numbers experienced in the first academic year of free transit (2016-17; 88,250 passenger trips).
"It was another very successful year for the 'Youth Ride Free' program and we continue to be pleased with the participation of our youth in the public transportation system," said Rapid Transit System Manager Megan Gould.
Since the 'Youth Ride Free' program was initiated in late August 2016, a total of 342,587 youth passenger trips have been recorded.
Gould estimates the numbers would have been similar to last year's numbers, however winter and early spring school closures resulting from weather, coupled with a new youth pass system implemented in February impacted ridership.
"We would have had some extra days of ridership if it hadn't been for the weather," said Gould. "It also took a month or so for youth riders and their parents to understand our new pass system. Otherwise, ridership was very strong throughout the school year."
Gould indicates youth can continue to utilize City public transit services for free during summer months as well, noting RapidRide provides a convenient option for getting to the pools, parks, movies, library, summer food programs and simply getting to a friend's house.
Darrell W. Shoemaker | Communications Coordinator
T: 605.721.6686 | M: 605.939.8551