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Rural transit ridership surges

By Dave Hinton/Rantoul Press -- When CRIS Rural Mass Transit District began serving residents of northern Champaign County, officials figured it would take two years to reach the ridership levels of 1,000 passengers a month. It didn’t take nearly that long – only a few months.

“I guess the need has been far greater than we predicted,” CEO Amy Marchant said.

There was a definite need for a rural public transportation system, said the woman who serves as CEO of CRIS Healthy Aging Center of Danville, which operates the service.

Total ridership has skyrocketed from 514 in May to 1,178 in August, the latest figures available.

File Photo/CU-CitizenAccess -- CRIS Rural Transit driver Bob Dunagan prepares to make the rounds to Rantoul to pick up three riders headed to Champaign-Urbana. CRIS recently began providing transportation to rural residents through an agreement with Champaign County.

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