KENNEWICK, Wash. -- More and more people are taking the bus to get where they need to go. Ben-Franklin Transit officials are just hoping they can keep up with the increased traffic.
Nationally people took 10.1 billion bus trips in 2006, the most in 49 years. Public transportation has actually had greater growth than the nation's population or that of miles travelled on our nation's highways.
Locally, Ben Franklin Transit saw an 8% increase in riders in 2006. Officials say they are happy that they have been able to keep up with customers so far but worry about the future.
BFT General Manager Tim Fredrickson say, "We can pat ourselves on the back so far, that we've been able to do that. But as demand grows things are going to be much more of a challenge.>
Fredrickson says that already BFT is having to make difficult choices about where and how many routes they can run. And with more people moving to the Tri-Cities, he says that BFT will have to expand its service. Fredrickson say that means more money that will have to come from state and local sources.