Over one million people rode a Sioux Area Metro bus in 2013, and this year, riding the bus is getting more convenient. After seeing where the service was being used the most, general manager Eric Meyerson felt it was time for a change.
"We had been running an on-demand service in the evening, which was not terribly productive because it would go from one address to another and it was really difficult to carry more than two and a half people an hour," Meyerson said.
Five routes that frequent areas near the Empire Mall, downtown Sioux Falls and Minnesota Avenue will be running two additional hours at night. Routes to the University Center will also run more often.
"The plan was by re-organizing the resources, we could actually get service on entire routes and serve many times more people," Meyerson said.
This change does not alter plans to re-evaluate the paratransit routes. Meyerson says a special committee will determine if some of those routes will be cut. He also says that there are currently no plans to extend a route to the Sanford Sports Complex.
"The cost of running a route out there. When nothing's happening at the Pentagon, that route would run empty. So, until there's more density out there, I don't see that happening in the short term," Meyerson said.
Ridership is the main reason these changes to the transit routes are taking place, and Meyerson says that in 2014, he is expecting even more riders to take advantage of the system.
"We'll be monitoring the trends the next few months, but I definitely anticipate that there'll be some growth because it'll be a lot more convenient for people who might not be working traditional 8-to-5 jobs," Meyerson said.
Even with the elimination of some metro services, Meyerson says total ridership remained steady between 2012 and 2013. A full list of the changes can be found on the Sioux Area Metro website.