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PART bus ridership reaches new record
Sunday, April 4, 2010
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Piedmont Area Regional Transit (PART) bus system recently set a record for the number of rides given to passengers during a month.
A total of 1,020 rides were provided during the 30 days that ended March 25. That was the first time during PART's 15-month history that more than 1,000 rides were given during any month-long period, according to RADAR, the Roanoke-based nonprofit organization that manages the system.
The previous record of 892 rides was set in December, RADAR said in a news release.
Martinsville Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Leon Towarnicki said Saturday he thinks the record number of rides probably is due to more and more people becoming aware of the service.
Overall, the number of rides provided by PART has "gradually been getting better" from month to month, Towarnicki said.
"The longer it runs, the more they (county and city residents) realize" that it exists and has convenient route schedules, he added.
PART's fixed-route system includes high-traffic areas in Henry County and Martinsville.
Altogether, stops in Martinsville were the most popular, with a total of 568 rides during the period. Henry County stops received a total of 452 rides.
The most popular stops during the 30 days that ended March 25 included Lowe's and Walmart on Commonwealth Boulevard, with 96 riders each; the Martinsville Municipal Building, with 91 riders; and Pony Place in Martinsville with 73 riders, according to RADAR. Statistics were recorded based on the locations in which riders boarded the bus.
Other stops include the Virginia Employment Commission, Henry-Martinsville Social Services, Social Security Office, Patrick Henry Community College, city and county government buildings, Henry-Martinsville Health Department, The Grace Network/Adult Day Care Center, Patrick Henry Mall, medical complexes and major retail centers such as Liberty Fair Mall.
Route schedules are available at the county administration building on Kings Mountain Road and the city municipal building on West Church Street, plus online at www.henrycountyva.gov, www.martinsville-va.gov, and www.radartransit.org.
PART buses run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The county and city recently applied to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for $93,888 to help operate the system between Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2011. Towarnicki said the localities anticipate finding out in late spring whether they will receive the grant.
If the grant is provided, the county and city each will have to provide a local match of $10,556.