AATA proposes plan to increase ridership

Many people in the Eastern Michigan University community rely on The Ride, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority’s bus system, to make their way to and from campus.

It is a common way for commuter students to get to classes, for residents without access to a car to get off campus for necessities and for faculty and staff to come to work. The Ride’s routes access all of Washtenaw County, providing customers with a rate of $1.50 each way.

As of September 2012, the AATA has proposed numerous changes with their new “Five Year Transit Program,” which is expected to increase ridership by 50 percent.

Washtenaw County, specifically the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area, will be benefiting from these changes, with a 56 percent increase in service hours.

The plan would also offer more frequent trips, extended late night and weekend hours, more routes with fewer transfer buses necessary and an increase in trips to key destination places such as grocery stores, libraries and shopping centers.

According to AATA Project Manager Michael Benham, there would be a 151 percent increase in hours of service overall.

“The plan is going to increase service in Ypsilanti generally [and] enhance services at Eastern Michigan University, including the specific bus routes 3, 5 and 41. It increases the overall level of accessibility of the university,” Benham said.

The proposed plan would increase costs to taxpayers by an average of $1 per week for the changes if the plan is passed. Fifty-nine percent of surveyed likely voters supported the property tax increase to fund the plan, which would go in effect in 2013 if passed.

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