Huge numbers on Lift buses over holidays
January 12, 2017
The holidays brought tens of thousands of visitors to Grand County, and many of them relied on the new transit system for Winter Park and Fraser to get around. The transit system is still being tweaked in some ways, but seemingly managed to get people around the Fraser Valley effectively.
Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson said that between Dec. 24, 2016 and Jan. 8 the transit system saw a significant increase in ridership throughout the system. For those 15 days, the system saw a total ridership of 75,419 riders, which is about 15 percent of their total yearly ridership, all lumped into just two weeks.
"We saw 541 riders on the Night Lift Call and Ride on New Year's Eve after midnight, which is roughly 215 riders per hour," Nelson said.
That number doesn't include those who rode the Black Line or the Fraser Cirque.
"The system was certainly taxed during this time, and we expected it to be. We received a few comments from riders during this time, both good and bad, but overall we believe the experience was just as anyone would expect – lots of riders, lots of packed busses, but overall the system worked as designed," Nelson said
The afternoon and evening traffic backups from Fraser certainly had an impact on timeliness of bus service to the north of downtown Winter Park, according to Nelson, but that is an annual problem that will only be resolved with capacity improvements to the roadway network.
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Nelson said the bus drivers with First Transit certainly had their work cut out for them during the holidays.
"They worked long hours with high ridership and heavy traffic, and we are certainly grateful for their professionalism and dedication to safety. It is our hope that they have a chance to catch up on some rest ahead of our continued busy season."
The next Transit Advisory Committee meeting is Monday, Jan. 16.