(Harrisburg) – More than 694,000 passengers rode a Capital Area Transit bus in the third quarter of 2014, an increase of about 2% over the same period last year.

Senior riders reached 66,565 for quarter three, a bump of 8,053 senior riders, or 13.8%, over last year’s figures.

“This compares extremely well with recently released national bus ridership figures for the same period,” Robert Philbin, CAT spokesperson, said today.

“National bus ridership figures actually decreased by 0.4% according to an American Public Transportation Association national report released last week,”  he said.

Some student ridership was down because of summer break, while college student ridership increased 36.1% as a result of recent service increases to Shippensburg University and Dickinson College in Cumberland County. 

Basic Fare and Half-Fare ridership were up 5.5% and 4.1% respectively, while Free Fares declined 5.3% and Transfers increased 8.6% or 5,669 riders this Q three versus the same period last year. 

“There are several reasons for this strong performance,” Philbin said. “Our marketing and public outreach focused on Senior Riders through the Spring of this year; new service with the PennDOT-sponsored Carlisle Circulator test; the City of Harrisburg’s summer events advertising campaign focused on transit; passage of federal and state transportation funding this year, and growing community awareness of the quality, convenience, and economy of utilizing public transit.”

More than 60% of CAT service moves people to jobs, so as the economy improves and more businesses come on stream, more people are employed and in need of public transit.  “CAT cannot supply all the employer requests for service to meet expanding employment needs,” Philbin said.  “We’re even working with developers who haven’t yet developed, built or sold facilities, who recognize the importance of local transit service to economic development.”  

The whole idea of “community” – developers, employers, employees and essential services, like health care and retail needs – “is enhanced, facilitated and integrated through public transportation,” he added.

Capital Area Transit was incorporated in 1973 when Cumberland County and Dauphin County Commissioners and the City of Harrisburg organized CAT to provide mass transit Fixed-Route and Paratransit shared-ride services, which today conveniently and safely transport about 3 million riders a year in the thousand square mile capital region. 

Visit  or call CAT’s Public Information Office at 717-238-8304 for more information.  “Where CAT Goes, Community Grows.”

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