DART First State ridership numbers still down, but bouncing back

Image: DART First State (YouTube)

The pandemic affected many businesses across the first state, and that included public transportation. So how is DART First State doing as we try to get back to normal? 

Cathy Smith is the planning manager for Delaware Transit Corporation and says while ridership continues to be down today, it’s a far cry from the 70% to 80% decline during the heart of the pandemic over a year ago.

“People remote working from home, businesses were closed,” Smith says. “We slowly ramped the service back up to the service levels that are now being operated and that was around the June time frame. We are still down around 40%.”

Smith says the robust routes where people are dependent on public transportation is bouncing back, but a new variable has been the recent uptick in gas prices. For some, it’s a money-saving option. 

However, the concern is fares increasing due to a jump in gas prices – Smith says that would take some time through the public hearing process which is a minimum of three month. With those prices locked in, there’s a bonus this holiday season.

“The only change that we’re doing in price right now is a promotional discount between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Smith says. “It’s about a 20% reduction on a seven-day pass or 20-ride pass. We are doing a promotion to incentivise people to choose transit.”

You can find out more about DART First State and its holiday deals by going to dartfirststate.com or calling 1-800-652-DART.

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