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EZ Rider down 25% ridership, but things are looking up

EZ Rider sees about 1,000 riders per day. During the thick of the pandemic in May, June, and July 2020 they saw 600 riders a day.

MIDLAND, Texas — Using public transportation is how some of us get to work every day.

Wit the pandemic and working from home, it's given EZ Rider a flat tire so to speak.

Since the pandemic hit, ridership plummeted.

"It cut in half almost overnight in April of last year," said Douglas Provance, EZ Rider Odessa, Midland general manager.

People have been wary of tiptoeing back to public transportation in West Texas.

"In April of last year there was a lot of fear in the industry and locally, especially the seniors, the senior citizen's centers shut down, which is part of our business, we were providing transportation for those," Provance said.

And although ridership is still down about 25%, EZ rider is on the incline.

"People are getting out, they're going to work, they're going to shop," Provance said.

So they're not quite where they want to be, but approaching the destination.

"I think we're seeing the beginnings of it, the vaccine has helped a lot. People are feeling more comfortable. I think as the year goes on and if the FTA (Federal Transit Administration) will lift the mask requirements on bus(es) it will make people a little more comfortable," Provance said.

They're picking up new riders who want to save on their work commute, those that still have them, and the vaccine rollout has also helped business.

"We did help out when the city first started up at the Horseshoe in Midland and Ratliff stadium Odessa. We had a special bus picking up and taking people to that," Provance said.

Overall, they're ready to give rides to more West Texans as soon as they're ready.

Next weekend EZ Rider will be set up at the malls and Walmarts in Midland and Odessa to get more input from West Texans about what they want out of their bus service, so you can stop by and fill out a survey if you're interested.

EZ Rider also plans to completely replace its bus fleet in the next 2 years.

They've already put 8 of those new buses into service.