WiFi Added to A2Express Buses

AATA recently announced an exciting addition to their A2Express service between Ann Arbor and Chelsea.  The full press release is included below.  Don't forget to follow TheRide on twitter @CatchTheRide for frequent updates.

ANN ARBOR, MI – Free WiFi and 10-ride tickets to try the A2Express bus service from to Ann Arbor from Chelsea and Canton are being offered to area commuters by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (TheRide).

TheRide recently added WiFi to its A2Express buses and reduced the fare on each of the routes after taking over operation of the service from a contracted vendor. The fare on either route is now $99 a month, down from $125. Also available for riders are a 10-ride ticket priced at $40 and a one-way cash fare of $5. Eligible University of Michigan faculty and staff members and individuals with a go!pass are eligible for a reduced fare.

Each express route provides two weekday trips each morning and two return trips each afternoon for commuters between Chelsea or Canton and downtown Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan campus.

The A2Express began in May, 2008 as a new kind of bus service for TheRide, characterized by the commuter-oriented nature of the schedule and the premium fare. The Chelsea Express was the first implementation of longer-distance commuter service into Ann Arbor, followed 15 months later when the Canton Express was initiated.

Both routes were operated initially by a subcontractor, but have since been taken in-house by TheRide resulting in a significant reduction in costs. In fiscal year 2010, the budget for A2Express service was $509,428 and for fiscal year 2011, the budget has been set at $241,687, a 53 percent reduction.

The service was originally funded by a federal demonstration grant. The Chelsea route is no longer covered by the grant, but a portion of the funding remains for the Canton Express.

Current riders are enthusiastic about the service and have actively encouraged other to try it out. Several participated with TheRide in promoting the service at the Chelsea Parade in August. Combined ridership on the routes is currently about 82 trips per day, or 41 riders daily.

In describing his positive experience on the A2Express, rider Alan Vollmer said recently, “I park at the Arctic Coliseum in Chelsea and take the Chelsea Express. Riding a commuter bus saves me 700 miles of wear and tear on my car and 25 hours of driving time per month! I was sold after my first trip on the bus!”

The free 10-ride tickets may be requested through the A2Express web site www.a2express.org, or by calling TheRide at 734.973.6500. The tickets are available only to first-time riders.

Information about TheRide’s services, individual bus routes, schedules, detours and other news is available at www.TheRide.org. Available at TheRide’s web site are e-mail and text message updates by free subscription to MyRide.