The Cape Girardeau County Transit Authority's bus service in Cape Girardeau, offering rides on a fixed route, is serving 500 to 600 passengers a week, up 16 percent in the first half of 2007 from the last half of 2006. Plans are in the works to split the one long route taken by shuttle buses into two routes to better serve those passengers who often have to ride for up to an hour to reach their destinations.
In an effort to reach more potential riders, the Family Resource Center recently took a group of middle school-age children on a bus ride. The trip was an attempt to let the youngsters see what's involved in riding the bus. While the children may someday become regular riders, they are also likely to tell grown-ups about the bus service, perhaps getting more passengers for the fledgling service.
Another effort to make city bus service attractive to more riders is a link with Southeast Missouri State University's shuttle service between the main campus and the new River Campus for the arts. The university shuttles will make stops where the transit authority buses also stop, offering both students and city residents an opportunity to switch from one bus to the other. Anyone will be able to ride the university's shuttles for free, and university students will be able to ride the transit system buses for a reduced rate.
This coordinated effort to provide transportation, long identified as one of Cape Girardeau's major needs, is making headway in providing a useful service. Additional tweaking of the transit system and more cooperation with entities that provide taxpayer-subsidized transportation likely would produce even more riders.