VALPARAISO | With classes in session at Valparaiso University, it appears the V-Line will meet and beat its goal of having 5,000 riders a month by the end of the year.
Ridership in August almost reached 5,000 when the Brown Route, which serves the university, resumed operations for the final week of the month, V-Line general manager Ryan Landers said. During that week, a total of 734 riders used the service to go with the 1,843 people on the Yellow Route and the 2,039 on the Green Route.
The ridership on the Yellow and Green routes was an increase of about 700 over the record of the previous month, and, when added to the 203 who took the weekend shuttle service to the South Shore's Dune Park station, that's a total of 4,819 riders. The total is a new record that already appears to be shattered this month, Landers said.
"We already are approaching 5,000 for September, and, with more than a week to go, we could top 6,000," he said.
"I think we did really well the last week of August," he added. "We had a couple days of torrential downpours, but we are increasing in all the routes. We are getting calls every day, and with gas going up people are definitely trying to take advantage of it. It's rare when we have an empty bus on a route."
To serve even more riders, the V-Line is looking to extend service to the new Social Security center at the north end of Calumet Avenue and also to Ivy Tech Community College. The Ivy Tech service temporarily is hindered by the closing of Eastport Centre Drive at Ind. 2 for the next month or so for the entrance's reconstruction.
"For the time being we probably won't add the Ivy Tech service, but, when the entrance opens again, we will definitely consider that," Landers said. "I do like where things are going."
Apparently, city residents and VU students do, too.