Year-end transit ridership shows significant increases

Library wave bus
FILE PHOTO / News Bulletin
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 18:17 PM.

FORT WALTON BEACH — Okaloosa-Walton Transportation Planning Organization representatives this week announced substantial Okaloosa County Transit ridership gains.

Ridership numbers ending 2012 for routes connecting Crestview, Niceville and Fort Walton Beach showed increases up to 6 percent contrasted with 2011 — nearly triple the American Public Transportation Association's national average.

"We are thrilled to see that more members in our community are utilizing the system to connect to their jobs, broaden their education, access healthcare facilities and support local businesses," said Lani Birchett, transit coordinator and grants manager. "We anticipate that these numbers will only continue to grow as we move into 2013 with a proactive plan to educate the community and make riding OCT even easier."

Annual reports demonstrate the following increases contrasted with 2011 ridership:

  • OCT reported 111,576 total rides, a 2.7 percent increase, on its three main routes.
  • The Crestview Express route served 13,254 riders — a 6 percent increase. 
  • Fort Walton Beach routes served 81,273 riders — a 2 percent increase.
  • Crestview main routes also reported a 2 percent increase in 2012.
  • Okaloosa County paratransit services, which which make available cost-effective transportation services, reported a 7 percent ridership increase.

Following the area's First Annual Transportation Symposium, a one-day summit that gathered regional leaders to help improve transportation, OCT representatives have an outreach plan for the system.

OCT is working to get the community more involved through partnerships with businesses, military organizations and tourist destinations along U.S. Highway 98, according to Birchett,.



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