The Nashville MTA and Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee jointly recorded more than 10 million passenger trips in a fiscal year for the third straight year.
In fiscal year 2014, which ended June 30, MTA provided nearly 9.8 million passenger trips to residents, visitors, students and tourists within Metro Nashville on its buses and vans. RTA recorded more than 850,000 passenger trips on its train, express buses and vans. Together, these public transit agencies provided nearly 10.7 million passenger trips in the Middle Tennessee region, up nearly 2 percent over the previous fiscal year.
This ridership is similar to the number of people who flew in and out of the Nashville International Airport during the same time period.
“The last three years is proof that Nashvillians and people in the Middle Tennessee area understand the importance of mass transit,” MTA interim CEO Ed Oliphant said. “We believe this trend will continue and will help improve our air quality as well as the overall environmental impact on our region. Plus, it helps people save money.”
Ridership has continued to increase each year. Average MTA ridership is about 33,000 passenger trips per weekday. Average regional bus ridership is 1,675 passenger trips per weekday. Ridership on RTA’s regional buses has grown rapidly; it is up 13.2 percent over fiscal year 2013.
“I used my student ID to ride the MTA bus home from Hume-Fogg the first day of school,” said Isabella Ryan, a Hume-Fogg junior who rides MTA buses three to five times per week during the school year. “I got on the bus, put it on the scanner and sat down. It made it easier and faster. It is great. Obviously, it will also reduce pollution if more students ride the bus, so it is a greener way to get to school. It is great to see this cooperation among city agencies.”
Michael Briggs, a transportation planner for the Metro Planning Department, uses two forms of transportation instead of a car – the bus and a bike.
“I’ve got two options for the bus, No. 30 and No. 23, and I take the one that fits my routine that morning. I check email and social media while on the bus, and I don’t exhaust myself thinking about red lights,” Briggs said.
An avid biker, Briggs uses the B-cycle service near Music City Central and bikes from downtown to his office.
“I sweat a little, but I feel better on the days that I bus and bike,” he said.