City buses carry 931,117 passengers in 2002

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— Passenger numbers for the 2002 Steamboat Springs Transit are in.

City buses carried 931,117 passengers last year, said George Krawzoff, director of Steamboat Springs Transit services.

"I hope these counts indicate a strong economic recovery for our community in 2003," Krawzoff said.

Almost 9,200 people took advantage of public transportation on New Year's Eve.

That's only a few hundred short of record numbers in 1999, when 9,441 people rode city buses on New Year's Eve, he said.

"We probably would have set a new record except for the heavy snow," Krawzoff said.

Bus service on New Year's Eve ended around 2:30 a.m., when everyone who needed a ride had been served, he said.

Krawzoff said he is pleased with increased use of the city's transit services in 2002.

"I think we did very well," he said. "The previous winter was kind of a soft winter."

Numbers grew gradually throughout the year.

"We started out January and February behind the curve and have been catching up ever since," he said.

Numbers in March were up in comparison to 2001, Krawzoff said.

Gains were made in both the shoulder season and the winter season.

September saw an 8.5 percent increase in ridership, followed by a 7.5 percent increase in October.

Visitors accounted for much of the gains in the passenger numbers during the 2002 winter season, but Krawzoff said local ridership improved as well.

November passenger counts rose 40 percent from last year and December passenger counts rose 30 percent.

Ridership ended 6.3 percent ahead at the close of 2002 and closer to the peak years of 1998 and 2000, which posted 1 million passengers.

"It's a good feeling to see the community doing well," he said.

Krawzoff said he would provide a system-wide summary that included regional buses and paratransit as soon as those numbers become available.

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