Downtown Worker Bus Ridership Breaks Record

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Published: Tue, 09/09/2014 - 4:02 PM

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Strong employee growth among reasons for record go!pass ridership

A growing downtown employee base and high quality transit have resulted in record ridership for the go!pass bus pass program this year. According to recent data from the getDowntown Program (A program of TheRide), go!pass ridership from the beginning of the go!pass season (November 1, 2013) to July 2014 was at a record breaking 497,640 rides.

As of July 2014, a record breaking 4,389 go!passes were used by employees from 481 different downtown businesses. The getDowntown Program has also sold more passes to downtown employers than ever before, which indicates that employment growth is strong in the downtown. As of August 2014, the GetDowntown Program has sold 7,279 go!passes, compared to 6,935 for the entire 2013 season.

“It’s clear from these numbers that the downtown has strong demand for transit and that the number of employees in our downtown is growing,” says getDowntown Program Director Nancy Shore.

The go!pass program allows downtown Ann Arbor employers to purchase unlimited use annual bus passes for their employees for an extremely discounted cost. In addition to unlimited rides, the go!pass provides other transportation discounts as well as discounts to businesses in downtown Ann Arbor.

The go!pass program begin in 1999 as a way to incentivize downtown Ann Arbor employees to use the bus transportation to get to work in downtown Ann Arbor instead of drive and park. The bulk of the cost for rides taken with the go!pass by downtown employees is covered by a grant from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

Current DDA Board Chair John Mouat noted that the DDA remains supportive of the go!pass because it helps creative a strong, attractive downtown. According to Mouat, “by providing efficient and cost effective transportation the go!pass provides an alternative to driving and parking for downtown workers. The go!pass helps employers attract good employees, reduces traffic, and makes more parking available for customers doing business, all of which supports the mission of the DDA.”

One of the hundreds of downtown businesses that benefits from the go!pass program is Frita Batidos. Executive Chef/Owner Eve Aronoff explains the importance of the go!pass to her employees:

“The go!pass is invaluable to our staff getting to and from work - and beyond. When we brought up the subject of renewing our go!passes at a recent staff meeting we couldn't get past the introductory sentence before veteran staff members who have enjoyed the benefits took over expounding upon the virtues and benefits of the go!pass - and explaining how quickly it pays for itself in the value you receive - It literally sells itself!”

The Ann Arbor District Library is one of the top users of the go!pass and Executive Director Josie Parker explains why: “With over 100 employees and only a few parking spaces available Downtown on monthly rotations, the go!pass has become the preferred mode of transportation for most of the AADL staff."

The go!pass has even caught the eye of brokers who see the program as an important tool for selling the downtown.  According to Brendan Cavendar of Colliers International, “it is no secret that downtown is hot right now. We’ve worked with countless companies that have cited the reason they want to be downtown is because their employees love the go!pass. We are witnessing more and more companies – both in tech and other fields – turn away from traditional parking spots for employees for the great options that the getDowntown program has brought us." 

More information about the go!pass is available at: