The state of Ben Franklin Transit (BFT): Facts, figures and the 5:00 news live shot

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Jul 31, 2015

This week, Washington Policy Center released its latest Key Facts analysis of Ben Franklin Transit (BFT). BFT is the transit agency that serves the Tri-Cities (Richland-Kennewick-Pasco) region.

Our in-depth analysis shows total ridership has dropped 25% over the past five years. And the ridership drop is across all modes.

Over that same period, BFT's tax revenues are up 19%. This study is a follow-up to a 2011 WPC report on BFT, which showed similar concerns about the transit agency's operations.

Overall, Ben Franklin Transit's ridership in 2013 was lower than in 1996.

The drop in ridership is remarkable, considering the dramatic growth in the Tri-Cities' population.

WPC's research on BFT has been covered extensively by media in the Tri-Cities, including KVEW-TV, which led its Tuesday 5:00pm newscast with the drop in ridership story live from a BFT transit station. Ironically, at just after 5:00pm, not a single person was waiting for a BFT bus.