AMES, Iowa – Contact: Samil Sermet,515-239-233-7877 or firstname.lastname@example.org - Transit systems from Atlantic and Muscatine have been recognized by the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) for their accomplishments during the 2007 fiscal year. Each year at the Iowa Public Transit Conference, the Iowa DOT recognizes one regional transit system and one urban transit system for the highest percentage increase in ridership coupled with a decrease in cost per ride.
The Southwest Iowa Transit Agency (SWITA), which is operated by Southwest Iowa Planning Council in Atlantic, known as Region 13, is the recipient of the 2007 “Most Improved Regional Transit System of the Year.” The city of Muscatine 's MuscaBus is the recipient of the award for the “Most Improved Urban Transit System of the Year.”
The awards were announced Thursday, June 26, at the Iowa Public Transit Conference in Des Moines during the annual awards banquet co-sponsored by the Iowa Public Transit Association and Iowa DOT.
SWITA, which is headed by Transit Director Jeff Beckner, posted a 17.33 percent gain in ridership. This helped reduce the cost per ride by almost one percent during fiscal year 2007. Jeff explained that ridership saw increases in most of the service areas, with a significant increase coming from service provided to students in Atlantic, which started as a pilot project. This is the first year SWITA has received this award.
Ridership on the Muscatine MuscaBus increased by 11.13 percent, while the cost per ride dropped 7 percent. MuscaBus Transit Supervisor Ann Harrison, attributed the 2007 gains to modest increases in the fixed-route and Job Access/Reverse Commute service, and a significant increase in paratransit (alternative mode of flexible passenger transportation that does not follow fixed routes or schedules) ridership. This is MuscaBus' third “most improved” urban transit system award.