Rapid City students increasingly pick mass transit

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN TV) - Rapid City reports an increase in youth transit ridership as the school year begins; setting a record daily rider total Tuesday.

According to a city release, youth transportation last month on the RapidRide system reflected a 46.9 percent increase over September 2016.

October is off to a record start with Tuesday's youth ridership numbers hitting a record high of 696.

"The numbers are impressive. The school year is off to a great start as far as youth using public transportation is concerned," Rich Sagen, Rapid Transit System director, said.

There were 11,695 youth passenger trips in September compared to 7,961 trips in September 2016, the first month the youths ride free program was implemented. Overall Rapid Transit System ridership in September increased 14 percent over September 2016.

The first two days of October produced heavy youth ridership as well, with 616 youth passenger trips on Monday and a record 696 youth trips on Tuesday. As of Tuesday, since the beginning of this school year, there had been seven school days with more than 600 youth passenger trips recorded.

Free youth transportation was initiated by the City with the 2016-17 school year and numbers escalated through the year. By the end of May, more than 88,000 youth passenger trips were recorded on RapidRide by the Rapid Transit System.