The wheels on the bus in Charlevoix now carry many more passengers

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BOYNE CITY -- The green and white county transit buses have been transporting Charlevoix County residents for more than 30 years, but, reports transit manager Jill Drury, the number of people riding has gone up significantly in the last two years.

"The growth right now that we're seeing is -- I don't see an end in it at this point," said Drury. "Since January through April 15, we've added 343 new people into our database."

And the number of rides taken by the people who use the service has gone up as well.

Transit recorded 94,000 rides in 2011. That spiked to 110,000 in 2012. So far this fiscal year, which is half over, the county transit vehicles have been used 60,300 times. That puts it at about 120,000 rides by the end of the year.

"I just had a chart come from a regional association showing growth among big and small transits," Drury said. All were up in terms of rides. "We were by far the biggest number (in terms of growth rate) on the chart for the ones listed."

Why the growth and why here?

People of all ages ride the buses for a wide variety of reasons, reported Drury. It's $1.50 one way, so for many, riding the bus rather than paying to maintain and drive a car can save money.

"It's a little bit of everything from what I can see," explained the manager.

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