Springfest Weekend Bus, Tram Ridership Increases

Springfest Weekend Bus, Tram Ridership Increases
Springfest attendees are pictured on opening day last Thursday enjoying the live entertainment. Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – Transportation officials say fair weather contributed to an increase in ridership and revenues throughout Springfest weekend.

On Tuesday, Transit Manager Rob Shearman presented members of the Ocean City Transportation Committee with an update on Springfest ridership. With clear skies and warmer weather throughout the weekend, he said the transportation department reported an increase in the number of visitors using buses and trams.

“It was helpful that there was beautiful weather all weekend,” he said.

In a report presented to committee members this week, the town’s transportation department recorded more than 3,000 bus riders on Thursday and Sunday, more than 6,000 bus riders on Friday, and 9,862 bus riders on Saturday.

“You will notice the 9,800 figure on Saturday is on par with a mid-week day in the summer,” Shearman said. “Saturday was very well attended.”

He noted that bus ridership had increased when compared to Springfest weekend in 2021 and 2022.

“You can see there was a 70% increase over last year. Of course, the weather was not too favorable last year,” he said. “And it was still hovering around two-thirds of 2019 levels, but still a good increase from last year.”

Under tram ridership, the transportation department recorded 701 riders on Thursday, 1,123 riders on Friday, 981 riders on Saturday and 685 riders on Sunday.

“Ridership from this past weekend was about three-quarters of where it was in 2019, which is still very good,” Shearman said.

Officials noted the increase in ridership, combined with an increase in bus and tram fares, also increased revenues. Bus revenues came in at 90% of 2019 revenues, while tram revenues came in at 82% of 2019 revenues.

“That really speaks for the fare increases helping us out in the way we had hoped it would,” Shearman said. “That’s good news for us and will help us meet our budget.”

Shearman said his office had not heard any major complaints regarding the fare increases. This month, the municipal bus fare increased from $3 to $4, and the Boardwalk tram fare increased from $4 to $5.

“Very few people were caught by surprise,” he said. “Those that were understood why it was what it was and had really no anger or pushback over it.”

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed.

“I think everybody is seeing it everywhere, in their businesses, in their industries,” he said. “I think it’s that universal adjustment.”

Shearman also highlighted bus and tram deployments throughout Springfest weekend. He noted that bus drivers were able to meet demand.

“You will see our deployments are basically in lockstep with last year …,” he said. “So we’ve been fielding the same equivalent service this year as we have last year.”

Shearman added that tram drivers and conductors were also on hand throughout the weekend.

“We deployed a lot of trams over the weekend,” he said. “We had the staffing, and it was a good training opportunity because we have a large number of new drivers and conductors. So it was a good opportunity to get them out there and get them used to what they will be facing this summer. And I think the effect of the way we crafted our incentives incentivized people to come in and work for Springfest, to get their hours in.”

Committee members applauded transportation staff for their efforts throughout Springfest weekend.

“It’s encouraging,” Councilman Tony DeLuca said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.