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Beach Bus sets ridership record in first month

Electric bus arriving at the Lewes Transit Center
Electric bus arriving at the Lewes Transit Center

It’s a record start for the 2023 Beach Bus season.

There were more than 45,000 riders during the first month of the Beach Bus season which started on May 22.

This first month of operation record exceeds the previous first month ridership record in May 2019 by nearly 7 percent. It’s also 17 percent higher than last year.

DelDOT’s director of community relations C.R. McLeod explains why Beach Bus ridership is up.

"I think it's really a combination of factors with people definitely getting out and visiting our beach towns and all of the many amenities that are offered in Eastern Sussex County. We've also seen the return of we have a lot of employees who will come over for the summer from Europe," said McLeod.

He adds more year-round residents along the beaches, and beachgoers and visitors in the area are taking advantage of parking free at the Lewes Transit Center and Rehoboth Park & Ride and hopping on the bus.

McLeod notes the high numbers this year can also be attributed to the post-pandemic push in tourism noted by tourism officials up and down the state.

McLeod says another big factor is the reliability of having the bus run at all hours.

"The confidence level in the service is there now,” said McLeod. “It's reliable, it runs multiple times an hour through each stop, it's running early morning to late at night."

DelDOT expects the ridership to remain strong as peak summer travel approaches. The Beach Bus season runs through Sunday, September 10th.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.