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Athens Public Transit looks to increase ridership

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Athens Public Transit has been on a mission to increase its ridership. Recently, they have decreased their prices, hosted several free ride events and partnered with local groups to help them offer incentives to use their buses.

Their holiday event has local businesses in mind. They have partnered with the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce for a promotion they are calling “Take the Transit to Take it Home for the Holidays”.

While boarding of the bus, riders can receive a ticket from the driver, and then fill out some basic information. They then can shop, dine or conduct business at any chamber member establishment. These businesses will have the Chamber logo on them or can be found on a list on the Chamber website. When riders board for their return trip, they can drop their ticket in the fare box.

Riders who complete these steps will be entered into two weekly drawings for a $100 gift card and a grand prize gift card of $200 to the chamber member establishment of their choice, which is nearly 475 businesses to choose from.

The promotion started on Black Friday and will run until Dec. 18. The first weekly winner was chosen on Dec. 4 and the second weekly winner will be selected on December 11. The grand prize winner will be selected on Dec. 18.

This promotion is not the only one they have done to try and increase ridership. In the month of October they offered free rides. For 11 days, anyone could ride anywhere on the route for free.

At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year at Ohio University, they decided to decrease bus fares by 33 percent.

According to Michael Lachman, Transportation Services Manager for APT, after studying the marketplace, they found it would be much simpler to decrease the fare.

“We haven’t had any loss but actually a gain,” Lachman said.

Decreasing the one way fare from $1.50 to $1 has been the greatest change for APT.

“We are continuing to work on increasing our ridership and hope to continue to see positive change,” Lachman said.

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