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|Monroe transit system receives top honor; city to unveil new buses March 18|
The city of Monroe's transit system was one of 10 systems nationwide honored by the Federal Transit Administration during a ceremony Monday in Washington, D.C.
Monroe's transit system received a "Success in Enhancing Ridership Annual Award," which was accepted by Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and Monroe Transit general manager Joe Comerford.
The Monroe Transit System received the award because of outstanding growth in ridership, according to the FTA.
From 2006 to 2007, the city's ridership grew from 1,137,731 passenger trips to 1,201,175, a six percent increase.
"We are all 'Monroe Proud' of our transit system for this great achievement," Mayo said. "By extending service hours and improving our routes, Monroe Transit offers a safe and cheaper alternative, especially now with local gas prices at an all-time high."
"As a result, in 2007, we had over 1.2 million passenger trips, an all-time high," Mayo added.
This year marks the second year the FTA offered the award, which identifies the best practices in the transit industry for increasing ridership.
The winners of the award will be used as models for transit systems throughout the country, Comerford said.
The award was open to transit systems of all sizes throughout the United States, totaling more than 800 eligible transit systems. In systems serving areas of populations between 50,000 and 200,000, Monroe Transit was among only three selected.
"This award is something to really be proud of because although we have won awards in the past for the amount of our growth, this award says that we are not only doing the right things to grow ridership, but that we are among the best in the country at doing it," Comerford said.
The city will honor Monroe Transit for receiving the award and also unveil new buses at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 18, in the courtyard of the Monroe Civic Center.
Monroe is adding three new buses to its fleet. The new buses will feature the ULM design first introduced in 2005. The buses also will operate on 20 percent bio-diesel. (Monroe Transit was the first transit system in the state to utilize bio-diesel fuel). Another new addition to the buses will be diesel particulate filters, which reduce particles in the buses' exhaust by 90 percent.
The buses were fully funded from a Federal Transit Administration grant that paid $325,293 for each bus.
The new buses will replace smaller ones that have met their useful life.
Immediately following the ribbon cutting, refreshments will be served to celebrate the Monroe Transit System receiving a 2008 Federal Transit System Award for enhancing ridership.