On Thursday, June 20, MATBUS will join hundreds of transit systems around the United States to celebrate the American Public Transportation Association (APTA)’s eighth annual “Dump the Pump Day” in the Fargo-Moorhead metro! To help encourage area residents and visitors to give public transit a try, MATBUS is offering a fare-free day to all of its fixed route passengers on Thursday, June 20. This promotion does not apply to MAT Paratransit services.
Riding MATBUS provides an environmentally-friendly and convenient way to get around the area, while also saving passengers a substantial amount of money. APTA estimates that it costs almost $10,000 annually to operate a personal vehicle; a year of MATBUS rides cost less than $500. A potential savings of $9,500 can be realized by simply eliminating one vehicle in a two-car household.
One bus full of passengers replaces six blocks of cars on the road. Additionally, every $1 invested in public transit projects generates anywhere from $4 to $9 in local economic activity. MATBUS’ new hybrid vehicles produce less than 50% of the greenhouse gases emitted by typical diesel vehicles.
During 2012, MATBUS fixed routes and MAT Paratransit services gave a combined 2,099,149 rides to passengers in the F-M community. MATBUS ridership has soared in recent years, increasing by more than 81% since 2005. Route modifications, increased gas prices, expanded and targeted marketing efforts and continued outreach activities have all assisted MATBUS in attaining these statistics. MATBUS is seeing many “choice riders” on-board its vehicles; “choice riders” are those passengers who have their own vehicles, but choose to ride MATBUS instead.
Noting that people are changing their attitudes regarding travel, APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy stated, “There is a sea change going on in the way people look at transportation. Americans want travel choices; they want to be able to choose the best travel option for their lives. This is an exciting time for the public transportation industry as more and more Americans support it and want it.”
The first national “Dump the Pump Day” was held in 2006, after gas prices reached $3.00 per gallon. In 2012, a record 10.5 billion trips were taken on public transit systems in the United States.
MATBUS is the largest rideshare program in the area, offering 21 fixed routes in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and Dilworth, in addition to MAT Paratransit door-to-door services. MATBUS is the first transit agency in the region to feature 40-foot hybrid busses in its fleet. The operation of MATBUS requires a $6.50 million annual investment and over 110 employees, which includes administrative staff, bus operators and technicians.