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Customer Advisories
Press Releases

Friday February 24, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:

SJ Morrison
Madison County Transit
(618) 797-4600

FUEL PRICES DRIVE COMMUTERS TO TRANSIT AND RIDESHARING

Riding the Bus or Carpooling Saves Commuters up to $400 a Month

GRANITE CITY, ILL., FEBRUARY 24, 2012 . . . A fantastic lineup of new musicals and familiar classics are coming to the St. Louis Muny in Forest Park this summer, and once again the Madison County Transit (MCT) Muny Express is the best way to get there. The curtain rises on a new Muny Express season Friday, June 24 with “Legally Blonde.” Featuring new buses, great shows and friendly drivers, the MCT Muny Express provides an affordable, hassle-free ride to all Friday evening performances at the Muny in Forest Park. Muny Express passengers enjoy a relaxing, round-trip ride to and from the show, from nine convenient pick-up locations in Madison County. Passengers are dropped-off and picked-up directly in front of the Muny, eliminating the hassles of finding a parking place.

For Joe Kovarik, an accountant from Edwardsville, it’s all about the numbers. “Riding the bus is so much more economical,” he said. “When gas prices go up, I don’t understand why people wouldn’t try the bus.” Kovarik works at Stifel Nicolaus in St. Louis and has been riding the #16X Edwardsville Express for the last two years. “Beyond the financial benefit, there are a lot of reasons I like riding MCT,” said Kovarik. “I meet new people, I’m helping the environment and I’m not worried about the road. Someone else is doing the driving.”

Every weekday, MCT Express buses carry more than 1,800 commuters to and from St. Louis. With demand for this service growing, ridership on these routes has increased year over year for each of the last 12 months. Currently, MCT operates the following Express routes to and from 14 Madison County communities: Leslie Miller of Troy has been riding MCT’s #14X Highland Express from to St. Louis since gas prices peaked in 2008. A nurse at Siteman Cancer Center, her trip requires a transfer to the MetroLink in addition to MCT. “The commute may take a little longer,” said Miller. “But I actually feel like I have more time because I can read or use my iPad instead of being stuck behind the wheel of a car.” To encourage its employees to use transit, BJC subsidizes part of their monthly passes, providing an even greater incentive for Miller and her co-workers to ride the bus.

“In addition to bus route maps and schedules, MCT’s website (mct.org) also has a cost savings calculator which allows interested commuters to calculate the monthly and annual savings of riding the bus, carpooling, or vanpooling versus driving a car,” said SJ Morrison, Director of Marketing & Planning for MCT. “If you live in Madison County and work in St. Louis, it’s worth your time to visit our website and find out how much you could save.”

RIDEFINDERS ALSO GETS A BOOST

For RideFinders, the St. Louis region’s carpool, vanpool program, operated by MCT, the rise in fuel prices has created a renewed interest in ridesharing as well. “We are seeing a surge in commuters who are concerned about the sudden increase in gas prices and are starting to look for relief,” said Joe Wright, director of RideFinders. “Sharing the ride to work is an easy way to save on commuting costs, and as gas prices climb towards $4 a gallon, we anticipate that many commuters will register new carpools and vanpools with us.”

Since Monday of this week, RideFinders has seen increasing traffic from commuters using its free ridematching service to search for possible carpool and vanpool matches. The free ridematching service is available at (800) VIP-RIDE and online at ridefinders.org. Commuters simply provide their home and work locations, work hours and commute preferences. This information is used to generate a personalized “matchlist” of other individuals or existing vanpools with similar commutes as theirs to contact and discuss the possibility of ridesharing.

Annually, sharing the ride to work through RideFinders, saves the 10,500 registered rideshare participants $33 million in gas, maintenance and other commuting costs, and these savings grow as gas prices increase. More than 4,000 carpools and 94 vanpools, which use vans leased from RideFinders, remove over 6,000 vehicles daily and 67 million driving miles annually from the region’s roads. This benefits the entire region by reducing traffic congestion and eliminating 2 million pounds of air pollution annually.

Madison County Transit (MCT) provides multi-modal transportation services for Madison County, Illinois. MCT operates a fixed-route bus service, connecting to MetroLink; express weekday commuter service directly to and from downtown St. Louis; and seasonal express service to the Rams games and the Muny. For elderly and disabled residents who are unable to use the fixed-route buses, MCT provides complementary paratransit service. MCT is also responsible for the construction and maintenance of more than 100 miles of bikeways that comprise the MCT Trails system, as well as overseeing RideFinders, the St. Louis region’s FREE carpooling and vanpooling program.