More and more local residents are choosing to use busing as their mode of transportation, as evidenced by a recent report from Riverside Transit Agency.
October brought the highest amount of ridership in RTA's 35-year history, said a spokesperson for the organization that provides public transportation to western Riverside County.
Boardings were up by 18 percent from the same month last year, according to RTA Spokesperson Bradley Weaver.
"With 11 of the last 12 months smashing ridership records, RTA buses continue to reach unprecedented levels of boardings. At this pace, the Agency is on track to break last calendar year’s record of 8.4 million boardings," Weaver said.
Factors contributing to the record-breaking ridership may include volatile gas prices, route and schedule improvements, and the popularity of student-ride programs, according to a news release.
The Go-Pass and U-Pass student-ride programs now encompass a statewide record six partner schools: Cal Baptist University, La Sierra University, Moreno Valley College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Riverside City College and UC Riverside.
More than 1.3 million student boardings have occurred so far this fiscal year, which also sets an all-time record, Weaver said. Ridership among middle and high school students is also up following RTA's outreach efforts this past summer, he said.
RTA also recently launched a travel training program that gave disabled and senior customers the freedom to ride without barriers.
“This explosive growth shows that more commuters are eager to save money, time and sanity by riding our buses,” said RTA Chairman of the Board Doug McAllister, who until December also serves as the mayor of Murrieta.
“More people are discovering that riding RTA is a quality experience. Once a customer rides for the first time, we expect them to return," McAllister said.
Listed below are October stats for RTA routes that service southwest Riverside County:
Route 7: Lake Elsinore/Wildomar: 13,194 October boardings, up 13 percent from October 2011
Route 8: Lake Elsinore: 14,663 boardings, up 24 percent
Route 22: Riverside/Perris/Lake Elsinore: 47,110, up 16 percent
Route 23: Temecula/Murrieta/Wildomar: 8,575 boardings, up 6 percent
Route 24: Temecula: 7,874 boardings, up 15 percent
Route 40: Lake Elsinore/Quail Valley/Sun City: 2,562 boardings, down 1 percent
Route 55 (Temecula Trolley): 4,245 boardings, up 30 percent
Route 61: Sun City/ Menifee/ Murrieta/ Temecula: 7,206 boardings, 14 percent
Route 79:Hemet/Winchester/French Valley/Temecula: 9,537 boardings, up 25 percent
Route 202: Murrieta/Temecula/Oceanside: 2,005 boardings, up 21 percent
Route 206: Corona/Lake Elsinore/Murrieta/Temecula: 6,554 boardings, up 9 percent
Route 208: Temecula/Murrieta/Sun City/Perris/ Moreno Valley/ Riverside: 5,393 boardings, up 23 percent
Route 217: San Jacinto/Hemet/Temecula/Escondido: 3,534 boardings, up 49 percent