More People Catching the CAT | VideoJessica Roose | 7/16/2012
Mike Nickel has been taking the bus for over a year. He say`s it`s the easiest and most affordable way to get to and from work.
"It`s cheaper and I`m not spending that much on transit. It`s quicker for me to get home."
Nickel is one of the growing number of people in Bismarck and Mandan who are leaving the car at home and taking the bus. In the last six months, an extra 10,000 riders have caught the CAT. Compared to ridership between January to June of last year.
"We`re assuming it`s people coming in looking for work. Lower income individuals and also with the whole oil field stuff that`s going on, there`s families moving into town. So we still see a lot of different faces and new people," said Transit Director Robin Werre.
One of those new faces is Angel Williams, a Mandan resident who just moved to the area from Austin, Texas to look for work. She says the bus has been great, but she just has one request.
"I just kind of wish they would have more busses you know. It kinda sucks having to wait a couple hours, cause the one from Bismarck to Mandan don`t run that often."
Her wish could become reality if ridership stays on the rise and more people who use the paratransit program start using the CAT.
"Paratransit is a more costly program and if we can save some funds there it can give us more funding to expand routes on the CAT," Werre said.
Werre says it will also depend on how much money the state gets from the federal highway bill that was signed by the president earlier this month. But for now, riders like Nickel and Williams can continue to catch a ride during the available times six days a week.
The busses operate Monday through Saturday, fare is $1.25 for adults and 50 cents for students and seniors. You can pick up a route map like this at various locations including the mall and grocery stores or by visiting www.thecatbus.com.