January 27, 2012, Lincoln, Nebraska — Mayor Chris Beutler announced today that ridership on the publicly funded StarTran system was up over twenty percent in the first triannual [every four months] of the fisical year compared to the previous two years.
Mayor Buelter believes that, “ecomomic conditions and the price of gas could be factors in the increase of nearly 128,00 riders. [Additionally] …we also have to credit StarTran for its system improvements, special promotions, and focus on customer service.”
Recent improvements, according to StarTran Transit Manager Larry Worth, include the addition of bike racks on all buses; new downtown bus shelters that have digitial signs to alert patrons of arrival times; and the “get on board” service that allows patrons to track buses online. In addition to the normal fixed-route service provided by StarTran, Larry Worth, also expressed satisfaction that the StarTran auxillary programs, such as the school booster service which delivers children to school, and the Big Red Express, the shuttle service from outlying areas of Lincoln, to Memorial Stadium, during home games, remain popular services.
Despite increases in gas prices and other costs associated with running StarTran, prices for service has remained steady since 2008 and there has been an increase in ridership under the low-income rider program.
StarTran is the only mass transit system currently operating in Lincoln and recives over 5.2 million dollars a year in taxpayer money. Yearly operating costs run 9.6 million dollars with user fees only accounting for 1.6 million dollars of the entire bill.