Cornwall Transit enjoyed a big boost in ridership on June 6 as thousands of residents took advantage of the free rides being offered in celebration of Clean Air Day.
The transit service recorded a total of 6,045 passenger boardings on Clean Air Day, making it the most successful day yet in the six-year history of the annual event. In 2011, Cornwall Transit offered 5,333 free rides on Clean Air Day. By comparison, the average passenger boardings on Cornwall Transit for the three previous weekdays was 2,834.
"The response to our Clean Air Day promotion exceeded our expectations," said Transit Manager Len Tapp. "We received a lot of positive comments from the public, including many first-time riders. We're hoping this event will encourage them to ride Cornwall Transit on a regular basis."
Coun. Elaine MacDonald, Cornwall Transit committee chair Jason Setnyk and Pat Baranowski of Corus Entertainment served as Mystery Riders for the event, and they rode the bus throughout the day, randomly handing out monthly bus pass prizes to riders.
The Mystery Riders got to interact with passengers of all ages. They included a senior attending a medical appointment and visiting a friend, a mother of two attending the Cornwall Community Hospital, a woman who sold her car last year and now uses Cornwall Transit on a regular basis and a couple of elementary school teachers who took their classes to Lamoureux Park for some fun after completing a test in the morning.
"I met so many regular riders who raved about the transit service and the drivers," said MacDonald. "There's a fiercely loyal transit community in our city."
This marked the sixth year that Cornwall Transit has offered free rides in celebration of Clean Air Day.
"Given the positive response from the community, we will definitely be doing it again next year," added Tapp.
Cornwall Transit had 792,000 paid trips in 2011, including 41,600 trips made by persons with disabilities. Cornwall Transit operates seven conventional routes, one community bus route, 46 daily hours of Handi-Transit service and morning and evening Industrial Park routes. Citizens can travel to most locations in the city within 30 minutes.
For information on Transit schedules, fares and more, please visit www.CornwallTransit.ca.