KINGMAN – Most of the people riding KART buses are between the ages of 35 and 64, and 36 percent of them take the bus to do their shopping, Superintendent Sheri Furr said Friday at the quarterly Transit Advisory Commission meeting.
Overall, ridership for Kingman Area Regional Transit decreased slightly to 110,995 in 2016-17, down from 121,313 in the previous fiscal year.
However, bus ridership has declined nationally, not just in Kingman, Furr mentioned.
“Saturday ridership has increased, but the daily averages are a little lower,” she said.
Total revenue dropped to $175,665 in 2016-17, compared with $185,327 in the previous year.
KART reduced the cost of its monthly pass in July, and Furr was hoping to see a marked increase in purchases by senior citizens and the general public, but that hasn’t happened. Most of the monthly passes are purchased in groups by schools, charities and other organizations.
The most popular route is the Yellow Route, which encompasses north Kingman and Butler, with 36 percent ridership. The Green Route, which runs through south Kingman and into downtown, was next at 33 percent, followed by the Red Route (east Kingman) at 17 percent, and the Blue Route (Stockton Hill Road to Northern Avenue) at 14 percent.
KART received 200 responses to its rider survey, not quite as many as in the past, Furr noted. Of those, 157 said they had no alternative means of transportation.
Eighty-nine respondents said they have a disability, and 23 said they use a mobility device.
Asked how they would have made their trips without KART: walk (57); bicycle (23); personal vehicle (12); friend or family member (39); taxi or other transportation service (39); and would not make the trip (30).
The majority of survey comments from riders indicated they wanted longer hours on Saturday, when service is limited to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and service on Sunday, when there is none currently.
“We want to do a smaller survey of where do they shop, how much do they spend,” Furr said. “Maybe we can get more partnerships with places like Walmart where people do a lot of shopping.”
The commission voted 4-0 to look into funding a feasibility study for KART transportation service to Kingman Airport and Industrial Park.
Vice Chairwoman Cere Tabbert said she sat on a small committee of the Kingman and Mohave Manufacturing Association (KAMMA) in June to gauge the interest of companies in ridership data, but hadn’t heard anything back from management.
A similar size industrial park in Lawton, Oklahoma, with some 2,000 workers was getting 140 to 280 riders a day, Tabbert said.
“I still see the need for some outreach, feasibility I guess is the word, to see if there’s interest,” she said. “The best way is to survey employees.”
Commissioner Justin Hembree, transportation program manager for the Western Arizona Council of Governments, said KART should apply for grants from the Arizona Department of Transportation to fund the feasibility study for airport service. They often cover 100 percent of the costs, he said.
Hembree amended Tabbert’s motion for the feasibility study by including a definition of the scope of work. Also, any preliminary numbers on potential ridership to the airport would be helpful in applying for the grants, he added.