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Despite recent fare hikes, Metro ridership is up

WBFO News file photo

Despite recent increases in Metro bus and rail fares, there has been an increase in ridership in the last year.  The reason appears to be the ongoing spike in gasoline prices at the pumps.

All through last winter, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority wrestled with the problems of not having enough money to pay for the bus and rail system, with a series of plans considered. In the end, some service was cut and the fare rose to $2, roughly half the current cost of a gallon of gas.

Authority Public Affairs Director Douglas Hartmayer tells WBFO News ridership is up more than four-percent in the year ending September 30, despite the fare hike. 

Hartmayer said the public wants the service.

"Overall ridership is up because the trips and/or the routes that unfortunately had to be eliminated were the routes that historically had extremely low ridership.  Ad we continue to be able to take those resources and invest them into the routes that have the most ridership and we've seen an increase in ridership on those routes," said Hartmayer.

Since then, fuel prices for the bus system have also gone up.

Hartmayer said the authority is shifting to higher mileage buses, like hybrids, and going into the financial markets to pay lower prices for diesel fuel.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.