Go West Records 20 Million in Ridership: Wear Honored as 20 Millionth Rider
November 18, 2013
MACOMB, IL – 10 million + 10 million = 20 million.
In March 2008, Western Illinois University's Go West transit system recorded its 10 millionth rider. Five years later, Macomb resident Stacie Wear can say she has the honor of being the system's 20 millionth passenger, earning that honor Nov. 15 when she boarded the Rt. 18 bus on Madelyn Avenue. Wear was recognized at a celebration today (Nov. 18) at the Macomb Transit Center.
Go West Director Jude Kiah and Go West Assistant Director Peter Hannen presented Wear with an embroidered backpack and blanket from the University Bookstore, and gift cards, donated by Rialto Cinemas, Wal-Mart and Shoe Sensation, to commemorate the event.
On Feb. 22, 1999, Western Illinois University launched the Go West Transit System with three buses and two routes. Today, 28 buses and 19 routes, including numerous municipal routes, comprise WIU's and the McDonough County Public Transportation System's fixed route bus operation. Go West carries approximately 60,000 riders each week.
"It's fitting that our 20 millionth passenger is a municipal rider. With each passing year, our municipal ridership has significantly increased. In 2000, we saw approximately 10,000 community passengers and that number jumped to 150,000 by 2006. Today, our municipal (non-University) ridership is at 350,000," Kiah noted. "Go West has become part of the fabric of people's lives in this community. We remain the largest small town system (by ridership) in the United States, and I expect that designation to continue for many years to come."
All riders, including community residents, can ride the bus without a fare.
"Hitting 20 million in ridership is another incredible moment for our system. We've grown exponentially since 1999," Kiah added. "We're so proud to provide a necessary and worthwhile service to people of all ages in this community. The system further accentuates the outstanding partnership between Western and the City of Macomb."
McDonough County Public Transportation (MCPT), which is owned by the City of Macomb, provides demand response, fixed route and paratransit service in Macomb and McDonough County through three agencies: Go West (fixed routes) and Bridgeway and the Lamoine Valley Red Cross (demand response and paratransit services). The agencies are housed in the Macomb Transit Center, which opened earlier this year. Demand response routes began in 1982, while the fixed response routes began in 1999. The MCPT operates 52 public transportation vehicles, ranging from mini-vans to 40-foot buses, and provides public transportation services daily when WIU is in session, and Monday through Saturday during the summer months and during Western's breaks.
Kiah noted that in FY'13, MCPT provided more than two million one-way rides in Macomb and McDonough County. Demand response and paratransit ridership accounted for 50,731 trips, while the fixed routes accounted for 1.9 million trips.
For more information on Go West, including bus routes, schedules and fares, visit gowest.wiu.edu. To check real-time bus schedules, visit gowesttransit.com.