VALPARAISO | Maybe it's the new look of the buses or the new marketing campaign.
Whatever it is, the city's bus systems set new ridership records in October.
Valparaiso Assistant City Planner Tyler Kent, who also is the city's transit director, said total ridership on the V-Line intracity bus system was 7,486 for the month. It marked only the second time in the three years of operation the buses have had more than 7,000 riders in a month, and it topped the previous high by about 400.
Several of the routes had a record number of riders. The Yellow Route had 2,550, the Green Route 2,327, the Brown Route 2,108, the Orange Route 338 and the Red Route 163.
Meanwhile, the ChicaGo Dash express commuter service to Chicago's Loop from Village Station at Campbell Street and Lincolnway carried a total of 3,160 people for the month, an average of 75 a day for the service, which runs Monday through Friday. That topped the previous record of 71 riders a day set in September.
Kent attributed the success of the V-Line, at least in part, to the convenience and on-time service.
"People are getting adjusted to the schedule, they are accustomed to the stops and they know the drivers on a first-name basis," he said.
As to the Dash, Kent said, "With the economics, the bus is easy and accessible to get from your home to the station. Also, there's the amenities on the buses. They have WiFi, TV and relaxing seats and a quiet atmosphere."
The city is updating the V-Line route maps, and it will be adding more bus shelters in the spring. The Dash hopes to benefit from the planned purchase of bicycle lockers. Bids for the lockers, each of which holds two bikes, were opened last week, and they will be installed in several downtown parking lots in the spring, including some at the Dash station.