CyRide ridership records reach new territory

CyRide has increased its ridership by 12.9 percent in 2013. CyRide is now challenged with more riders and decreased funding.

Emelie Knobloch

New ridership records for the City of Ames and Iowa State’s partnership of CyRide have been documented after a major increase in student numbers.

CyRide is already preparing to meet new levels of ridership for the strong Iowa State enrollment predicted again for next year.

“I use the bus system to get around town outside of campus,” said Rachel Ramirez, freshman in pre-architecture. “The buses are usually pretty packed especially when it is cold.”

CyRide has provided 371,019 more rides since July than in the same six-month period a year ago. This is a 12.9 percent increase.

“The CyRide system is very helpful for getting me around without a car,” Ramirez said.

CyRide employs 160 people. Many ISU students are included in this number.

“I mainly ride the orange route,” said Nicole Norman, freshman in animal science. “It’s always extremely full.”

CyRide owns 89 buses as of June 30, 2013, and had 5.9 million passengers as of 2013.

CyRide has also provided new technologies to help passengers, including a Twitter page to update route changes and its newest addition, NEXT BUS.

“I use the tracker system a lot,” Norman said. “When I come back from parking my car in Jack Trice three times a week, it is always very helpful.”

NEXT BUS is a new bus prediction service that locates a specific bus with GPS and can be accessed from a smartphone, mobile device or computer.

“This will allow students to time their arrival at the bus stop closer to the time the bus will arrive,” said Sheri Kyras, CyRide director of transit. “The technology will also minimize the amount of time waiting in the cold weather.”

The current Board of Trustees includes the Ames city manager, ISU vice president of Business and Finance, a member of the Ames City Council, an appointee by the mayor of Ames, an Iowa State GSB senator and an appointee by the GSB president.

“CyRide has added 10 more hours of service each week day on five additional buses throughout the day,” Kyras said.

CyRide started from the combined efforts of ISU students and the City of Ames, according to Kyras.

“I don’t know what I would do without CyRide on some of those cold, below zero days,” said Norman. “I rode CyRide everywhere I needed to go then.”

CyRide is an award-winning bus system. Its most recent award was first place in the large bus division at the 2013 American Public Transportation Association International Bus Roadeo.

Kyras said that approximately 91 percent of CyRide rides are students.

In the past, CyRide has also won the All-American City Award, Public Risk Management Administration Award and the American Public Bus Safety Association Award.

More information about CyRide can be found at the CyRide website.