When it offered free rides June 15-20, Wichita Transit saw 60,411 total rides – 64 percent more than the usual June week and 3 percent more than during last year’s similar promotion. The city can’t count on being able to turn all the free riders into paying regulars, of course. But as city leaders seek to plug a $2 million budget gap in the system, and consider whether to ask voters for a transit-only sales tax, they can view the spike in ridership as an encouraging indication of the growth potential if Wichita Transit can offer the right routes, frequency and pricing. The system also stands to help Wichita with its ongoing air-quality challenges, which is why Wichita Transit will go fare-free on Ozone Alert Days this summer, too. – Rhonda Holman
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