Three million rides on the bus
Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) ridership for 2013 surpassed the three million passenger mark for the sixth consecutive year. However, ridership for 2013 did decrease by 66,474 passenger trips from the previous year.
DTA officials attribute the harsh weather in the early spring, along with the colder than normal temperatures of November and December of 2013 as having a negative impact on passenger volume. Other factors affecting passenger numbers were reductions in service on the routes 20, 15c, 14, and 4.
The decline in passenger volume resulted in a corresponding decrease in revenues collected. Total passenger revenue was $2,788,071 in 2013 compared to $2,870,350 in 2012, a difference of $82,279.
Trips taken by UMD students utilizing the popular U-Pass program at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD), decreased by 24,517 in 2013. Total ridership at UMD was 526,238 in 2013 compared to 550,755 the prior year. This decline is attributed to the discontinuance of Route 20, as well as the opening of a new student-housing complex located next to the campus on Woodland Avenue.
Moreover, U-Pass ridership at other participating colleges and universities was also down at 257,730 trips. This is a decrease of 8,227 passengers from 2012. UMD, the College of St. Scholastica, the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Lake Superior College all participate in the DTA’s U-Pass program.
For the first year since the DTA began installing bicycle racks on buses in 1994, bike passengers also declined. Bike & Bus service throughout the entire year has been provided since 2009. The DTA transported 23,669 passengers with bicycles in 2013, a decrease of 3,817 from 2012.