Sioux Falls bus passengers grateful for free rides

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Many people in Sioux Falls were able to ride-out the bitter cold weather Thursday on board a warm bus. The City of Sioux Falls waived bus fees for all of its Sioux Area Metro fixed routes to give riders a break from the cold.

Even when it’s bitterly cold outside, there is always a warm welcome inside a Sioux Area Metro bus.

“What a beautiful day!”

Some passengers took the free bus ride to work Thursday because their own car wouldn’t start in the cold.

“I wouldn’t make it to work today so thank God for the free ride and the city, that’s great,” Santiago Santo of Sioux Falls said.

The City of Sioux Falls waived the fees to ensure passengers have a safe trip to their destinations.

“If it’s like this cold and I don’t want to walk, I’m not walking, I’m going to take the bus to get me where I want to go,” Shelby Norton of Sioux Falls said.

Many passengers take the bus multiple times a day so the free rides save them a lot of money.

“I take it to and from work, I still have to take it again tonight so it saved me actually six dollars today,” Jordin Eichmann of Sioux Falls.

Another big benefit for taking the bus today: the temperature inside is a toasty 75-degrees, a nice change for the people who’ve been waiting outside in the cold.

“It is heated in here. It gives us a break from the cold,” Eichmann said.

Word of mouth was expected to boost the number of riders.

“Ridership will be a little higher today once the word gets out that it’s the place to go to stay warm, we’ll have a few more riders,” SAM Road Supervisor Steve Johannsen said.

For many people, the city bus service is their only mode of transportation. So a free ride goes a long way in the cold.

“It’s a lot better to have a safe place to stay warm than be stuck out in the cold,” Johannsen said.

The free rides go until 8:45 Thursday night.

The city also waved fees during a a bitterly cold three day stretch just over a year ago. But this cold spell will be much shorter, so regular rates return Friday.

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