Harford Transit ridership rises as funding stays stagnant

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Bus ridership in Harford County has stayed popular as funding stagnates, administrator says

Ridership on Harford Transit buses has continued to increase even as some state funding has remained stagnant, the system's administrator, Robert Andrews, told the Harford County Council at a Tuesday meeting.

The council was reviewing an annual resolution allowing the county executive to apply for grants with the Maryland Transit Administration for the Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program.

Trips on Harford Transit rose from 320,000 in 2011 to 365,000 last year, with the same amount of routes, Andrews said after Councilman Joe Woods inquired about it.

Woods was also interested in demand-response services, in which eligible senior citizens, people with disabilities and those with a low income can make reservations for a specific destination.

Andrews said the demand-response ridership has fluctuated, with 40,000 trips in fiscal year 2011 and 34,000 in fiscal year 2015.

The fluctuation is partly due to a funding formula from the state which had the state paying 75 percent for the service and the county paying 25 percent. With state funding staying stagnant, that has since flipped and the county now pays about 75 percent, he said.

Woods replied that people often forget how important the demand-response service is for people who otherwise would have great difficulty getting around, and he said he would do what he could to help support the service on the state level.

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