Afton Express and CAT seeing ridership going up along with gas prices

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 4:25 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville Area Transit and the Afton Express say they are seeing more riders come through their doors as gas prices remain higher than usual.

“I think people are consistently tired of the gas prices,” Paula Melester, regional planner with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, said.

More expensive gas has some commuters looking for options.

“In April and May it was like, ‘Eh it’s not too bad. I’ll wait and see if it goes down.’ But it’s been high enough consistently lately that people are looking for other alternatives,” Melester said.

Melester says their ridership is up 25% since May.

“The straight flat rate fare for Afton Express is $3 each way. So that’s less than a gallon of gas right now,” she said.

CAT says it is also seeing more usage.

“We’ve seen in April, May and June the numbers have gotten progressively higher, and we probably equate that to gas prices more than COVID,” Director of Transit Garland Williams said.

Lifting COVID-19 restrictions is also making a difference.

“I think it’s a mixed bag,” Williams said. “If you look at the last couple of years that have been terrible. In comparison, we have been doing better. We’re getting pretty close back to pre-pandemic levels even though our service level model is still reduced.”

CAT is free and the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission offers various free commuter resources.

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