WRTA passenger numbers up; wreck reduces bus fleet by one

Jan 29, 2014 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Wind River Transportation Authority officials say bus ridership saw an increase in December.

Transportation manager Benjamin Eastmond reported a 45 percent increase for the month during a Fremont County Association of Governments meeting Jan. 16 in Shoshoni.

"We've been making an effort to try and expand awareness of our services," Eastmond said.

In December, roughly 4,530 passengers used the WRTA, while about 3,120 were recorded in December 2012.

Promotion helped

Passenger numbers began to show an increase in 2012 when WRTA started an active advertising initiative through newspaper ads, radio announcements, and fliers at various locations. Free rides for Central Wyoming College students and a redesigned bus schedule also contributed to the ridership increase, Eastmond said.

WRTA said the general public under the education category rides the bus the most.

In 2012, the WRTA got new buses that featured extra seating. The bus line also started a new Jackson Hole route in 2013 in partnership with Linx. That route operates in the summer and travels between Jackson Hole, Riverton and Lander.

Totaled bus

A recent visit from an insurance appraiser confirmed a cutaway, 14-passenger WRTA bus was totaled when it went off the road Jan. 5 on Red Canyon Road south of Lander.

Eastmond said the bus was occupied by three passengers when it approached a slippery curve in a windy area. As the driver slowly drove downhill, the bus left the road and rolled twice before coming to a stop.

No injuries were reported, Eastmond said, and the WRTA expects to replace the vehicle.

Clarification: After publication Jan. 29, Benjamin Eastmond, the Wind River Transportation Authority's transportation manager, said the original story should have said the WRTA's "blue line" did not contribute to the ridership increase and was canceled by the Wind River Hotel and Casino in November. Also, the WRTA bus involved in the accident rolled over twice. The clarifications were made Jan. 30.

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