Public Transportation Increases As Gas Prices Continue To Rise

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated May 5, 2008 at 10:48 PM CDT

As we're all well aware, gas prices remain on the rise across the Northland...And that has many turning to mass transit to get from place to place...LeAnn Wallace reports.

"It's very convenient. I'm so grateful I have it.''

But convenience alone isn't the most recent factor driving commuters to the bus stop.

"It's very expensive for gas to take a car."

Prices in Minnesota are up almost 25 cents a gallon this month compared to last, and Wisconsin is seeing an increase of almost 30 cents.

Cloquet–based LSC Coaches has run a daily bus service from the Cloquet–Esko area into Duluth for over 15 years, but has experienced a recent spike in ridership.

"Fuel's made a big difference. I'd say at least 8% of the people are on directly because of gas prices."

Rural routes aren't the only ones filling their seats with more seats.
The Duluth Transit Authority has also seen an increase in ridership.

"So far this year, the DTA has seen an increase of over 85,000 passengers."

"I think the reason is gas prices, but also an impending recession that no one wants to talk about. Everything's going up and it's getting tougher for people to make ends meet, and you know a lot of people have cars, but a lot of them will choose to take the bus when they can."

Some buses are so full, it's "standing room only."

Elwell says the DTA welcomes the up–kick in popularity and is prepared to offer extra buses and services when needed.

Last year the DTA saw 2–point–7 million passengers and hopes to pass the 3–million mark this year.

In Duluth, LeAnn Wallace, The Northlands News Center.

University of Minnesota Duluth students are also saving on gas money.

UMD's U–Pass system has seen a 25–percent increase in passengers this semester alone.