COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
GoCOMO transit’s bus services have seen an increase in ridership over the past year as people begin to return to normalcy following the pandemic and as the price of gasoline increases.
The consumer price index reported that inflation rose 2.3 percent between March and April, and is up 8.4 percent since 2021. CPI is reporting a 28.8 percent increase in energy prices since last year, which it says is “largely the result of an increase in the price of gasoline.”
The average national price of gas is $4.919 according to AAA. Missouri’s average price of gas is $4.492, with is almost one dollar more than it was a month ago, and almost two dollars more than it was a year ago.
To combat the rising price of gas, Columbia residents are turning to GoCOMO’s free bus rides. Ridership has had a steady increase since 2021.
John Ogan is the Public Information Specialist for the City of Columbia Public works, and actively rides the bus to and from work, and says that he has noticed more riders on the bus every time he takes it.
Ogan says he thinks that the increase in ridership could be due to both the rising cost of gasoline and the pandemic coming to an end.
GoCOMO’s ridership data is collected every month, and the most recent data shows that they have seen an increase of 18.72% in ridership between April 2021 and April 2022. Which is almost 7,000 more riders in April 2022 than in April 2021.
Ogan said that it is important during times like this to have a form of free transportation to help the community during financial hardships. "So, having the bus there to take you there for free that's, that's really crucial to getting a lot of people... making their ends meet," said Ogan.
Regina Morgan, the bus and safety supervisor, said that they are seeing the biggest increase in ridership in the morning and in the evening.
"I'm seeing out heavies ridership, during, in the morning time when people are heading to work, and in the evening when they are headed home," said Morgan.
GoCOMO says that they will continue to offer free rides until October, which is the next time when next year's budget will be made.