(March 19, 2021) Bus ridership in Ocean City is down 38.5 percent from 2020, but after last weekend, things could be looking up.
In February this year, 9,806 people rode the bus in Ocean City, compared to the 15,933 in 2020. But one of the major differences between February 2021 and 2020 is that covid-19 was not in full swing yet last year.
“Last February wasn’t a covid month,” Ocean City Transit Manager Mark Rickards said Wednesday. “We hadn’t seen the effect of covid until after St. Patrick’s Day last year.”
Rickards credits the drop to other factors.
This past February, winter storms had an impact on ridership as people do not typically want to stand at a bus stop when it is cold and windy.
Also, last year was also a leap year, bringing in one extra day of ridership.
The additional ridership can be seen when comparing 2020 with 2019, when ridership was 15,933 to 15,581, respectively.
Rickards said over the summer, bus ridership was down 83 percent, and now, it is closer to 40 percent.
March is looking more comparable to last year, as covid is still a factor.
For example, on Saturday, the buses carried 2,596 passengers, making it the first time over 1,000 passengers rode the bus in a single day since 2020.
But even when you compare that number to the 5,225 carried last year, the number is down about 50 percent.
Still, Rickards said things are starting to look up. He added that while covid is still around, he did not believe it would be as big of a factor as last year.