David Maestas, Maricopa’s transit planner, made a presentation about the City of Maricopa Express Transit (COMET) to city council Tuesday evening.
Maestas presented a series of numbers including COMET ridership and costs as part of a “mid-cycle budget adjustment” presentation. COMET has a two-year budget. Maestas said the changes to the COMET budget will come before the council in May for approval.
Maestas told the council COMET ridership has steadily grown from 2,695 in 2013, 2,714 in 2014, 3,142 in 2015, 4,814 in 2016, 6,739 in 2017 to 7,069 in 2018. He said in 2018 that 3,410 of the year’s 7,069 rides on the COMET system were in the demand response arena. He added 2,529 rides were considered as route deviation service, 759 were on the summer shuttle and 371 were for special events.
Maestas discussed the proposed budget numbers he expects for the coming 2019-20 fiscal year.
His total proposed budget for COMET is $506,750. Of that total budget, the federal share is $332,155 and the city’s share would be $174,595.
Maestas said the city’s costs will be $746 less than what was requested in the current year’s budget.
Assuming the number of riders will remain the same in the coming year, ridership on the COMET system will cost taxpayers more than $71.68 per ride. The city’s share of that cost computes to more than $24.69 per ride in the coming year.
There was a 4.9 percent increase in COMET ridership from 2017 to 2018, according to Maestas. He said over the past 30 days, COMET has averaged 17 passengers per day in their regular route service, according to his presentation to city council Tuesday. He said there were 26 passengers using the COMET service on Tuesday, the day of the city council meeting.
When discussing efficiency measurements, Maestas told the council a ridership of 2,529 has been achieved in a 30-hour period on the regular route and 3,410 riders in a 43-hour period on their demand response service but he did not state when these periods occurred.