VALPARAISO | As Lake County officials grapple with funding local bus service, Valparaiso officials are looking to buy replacement buses as ridership hovers near record levels.
Ridership for the city's two bus services remained strong through March and April but didn't break any records.
City Planning Director Tyler Kent, who also serves as transit director, said the ChicaGo Dash express commuter bus to Chicago's Loop averaged 91 riders each way in March for a total of 4,113. April ridership jumped to an average of 97 per trip for a total of 4,075, he said. The latter approached a record high of 97.9.
The V-Line intracity bus service carried 8,609 people in March and 8,326 in April after topping 9,000 earlier this year.
The city's Board of Public Works and Safety last week approved spending the last of the 80-20 funding — 80 percent in federal funds and 20 percent through a local match — for operation and maintenance through the end of March. The city now is required to provide a 33 percent match.
Kent said the city still is awaiting approval for the federal funds needed to buy replacement buses for the V-Line. He said the life expectancy of the buses is five years or 100,000 miles, but a couple of the buses have 160,000 miles or more.