CDTA sets annual ridership record

CDTA #10Transportation fact of the day: CDTA recorded 16.49 million boardings during its last fiscal year* -- a new annual record, according to the transit org. The previous all-time record was from FY 1983.

CDTA's on a remarkable upswing in ridership over the last few years. It's seen increases each of the last three years. And the just-ended fiscal year is up more than 2.5 million boardings compared to 2010-2011 -- an increase of almost 20 percent. (ridership totals via CDTA Historical Performance Data)

A question we're curious about, though it probably can't be answered with great accuracy via the data: How many individual people rode the bus during that year? It'd be interesting to see if the bus is appealing to more people, or the people who are already riding it are riding it more often.

As we've said before, riding the bus can be a good experience, and not just because you don't have a car or some other sort of transportation option. In some cases it can be a superior experience to driving because you don't have to deal with parking, the stress of traffic, and you can just zone out or read along the way. The CDTA system isn't without flaws -- anyone who rides the bus regularly will have their frustrations, we know we do. But we suspect there's a not-insignificant chunk of people who might enjoy/prefer riding the bus regularly -- they just don't know, yet.

* CDTA's fiscal year runs from April-March.


I plan on taking a CDTA bus (for the first time in my life) to Tulip Fest. It's cuts the cost of a cab both ways dramatically, and entirely if my night ends while the bus still runs. I relay completely on mass transit when in Boston (T), NYC (subway), and DC (Metro). I'd like to here now as well, at least when it comes to avoiding the cab gestapo.

Buses are also the cheapest way to get home safely if youre drinking alcohol, besides walking (if you live close enough).

While not statistically significant, you can add me in as someone who has recently utilized CDTA's services, so I'm a new rider in those stats. I recently moved to Albany and refused to be a slave to my car. CDTA more or less meets my day to day needs. Obviously, there are some frustrations, like the bus being late (stuck in traffic, just like I would have been in my car), but the rewards greatly outway the periodic cons.

With that said, in the first year taking the bus, I rode one bus each way, so I was generating 400 (+ or -) unique rides in 2012. In 2013, due to some sweet new changes in CDTA's routing line-ups, I began taking two different buses, each way, so I as generating 800 (+ or -) unique rides. So despite being a new user in 2012, in 2013, I was taking advantage of more bus routes.

So based on my experience alone, the question still begs: More riders or same riders using more services. I'm sure with the new fare system coming online, CDTA will have more user specific data to mine for those revealing answers.

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