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Huntsville Transit ridership on the road to post-pandemic recovery

Published on February 7, 2024

An Orbit shuttle is seen traveling through downtown Huntsville.

Huntsville Transit’s ridership increased in 2023, marking a steady climb after passenger traffic dropped significantly during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ridership in 2023 on fixed routes was at 94% of pre-COVID ridership and at 97% on paratransit routes.

Orbit fixed-route buses carried 630,569 riders in 2023, the highest total since 671,459 riders in the last full year before the pandemic in 2019. Passenger traffic increased more than 29% in 2023 over the lowest traffic year of 2021. Year over year from 2022, ridership increased 13%.

For Access paratransit, the 100,832 riders in 2023 were the most since 104,952 in 2019. Passenger traffic increased 38% since the first year of the pandemic in 2020. And year over year from 2022, ridership increased 20%.

“We realize the critical role Huntsville Transit has in the lives of our residents, and we are excited to see our ridership numbers continue to increase,” said Quisha Bryant, Director of Huntsville’s Department of Parking and Public Transit. “Moving forward, we want to maintain our ridership growth and we have initiated steps to maximize our efficiency.

New directions

The growing popularity of Huntsville Transit comes as construction nears completion on a new transit transfer station on Pratt Avenue.

The facility will offer significant safety upgrades but also focus on riders’ comfort and convenience. It will feature a security fence around the perimeter and an upgraded video surveillance system.

The building will include a waiting area for riders with comfortable seating and ports to charge mobile devices. The interior will also have a separate break area for employees and a ticket office.

Outside, the new station will feature a 400-foot-long bus platform and an office for the platform manager. The 45-foot bus bays will accommodate larger buses and be covered to protect riders from inclement weather. Electronic signs will provide real-time information on arrivals and departures.

Public Transit has also worked to be more responsive to its riders. The department has held multiple public meetings to help develop more efficient routes and those conversations and adjustments are still ongoing.

Visit the Public Transportation page to learn more about Huntsville Transit’s services.