CyRide tallies 3 million riders

Anna Conover

More people are putting away their walking shoes and getting on CyRide. For the first time, CyRide carried more than 3 million passengers around Ames and the ISU campus during the 1999 fiscal year that ended June 30. The eight fixed routes, along with Dial-A-Ride and Moonlight Express, transported 3,016,409 passengers during the year. That was a 4.85 percent increase from the previous year’s 2,876,803 passengers. Bob Bourne, transit director of the Ames transit agency, said 2.5 percent of the increase was due to the agency’s shuttle service. Throughout the year, the shuttle ferried over 190,000 people around central Iowa for various conventions. CyRide picked up 25,000 grade-school students who participated in Destination Imagination held last May. The buses also shuttled people during Engineering Career Day, as well as during the U.S. Senior Open in Des Moines in July 1999, Bourne said. Another 2 percent increase was due to more passengers riding the buses on everyday routes, he said. The busiest time for CyRide is during morning rush hour from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. More people catch a ride on the bus during adverse weather, especially during the winter with the cold temperatures and snow. “We’ll have 17,000 to 18,000 passengers a day during bad weather,” Bourne said. The increase in passengers has qualified CyRide for additional federal funding. The amount will be proportional to the increases or decreases in the number of passengers in other bus systems. “If we had more passengers than other bus systems, then we’ll get more money,” Bourne said. A majority of the passengers who ride CyRide are students traveling to and from campus from commuter lots or freshmen and sophomores who don’t have cars, he said. Pat Coen, senior in animal ecology, said he rides CyRide every day during the school year. “It’s free from the commuter lot and it’s a lot faster than walking,” he said. Megan Peavey, sophomore in animal science, is also a daily rider who lives off campus. “I like it because it’s usually always on time,” Peavey said. Freshmen Sarah Graden, health administration, and Jamie Henrichs, elementary education, are also taking the bus to and from the commuter lots. “We like it because it’s convenient and you can get close to the buildings on campus,” Graden said.