New transport data released by the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority shows a 75.6% increase in its transport trips of their demand responsive shared ride service and all COVID-19 transport needs.
COTA’s trip report data, which provides transport trip information from 2019 and 2020, indicates the total number of trips in 2019 was 11,446. In 2020, the total number of trips jumped to 20,105.
“We are extremely pleased to see this new data prove that a state transit system, in partnership with other government agencies and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, can modernize and improve the ridership opportunities to better meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said Alfreda PC Maratita, special assistant for Public Transportation.
Since the beginning of the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force’s quarantine mission assignment in March 2020, COTA has been activated to safely transport Saipan inbound travelers to the quarantine facility sites. This includes persons under investigation and individuals who need to be released after the quarantine stay has been satisfied.
Throughout the response, COTA has made notable strides of expanding their days and hours of operations from 6:30am to 10:00pm on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and 6:30am to 8pm (Saturday-Sunday and holidays). COTA also began providing free WiFi service on all transit fleet and broke ground on a future maintenance facility and administrative building in Lower Base, Saipan.
“COTA continues its momentum this new year with our best foot forward as we continue our efforts toward implementing a comprehensive public transportation system for the CNMI. We welcome more riders to utilize COTA as an alternate transportation option to get around in our community,” said Maratita.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said that COTA has gone above and beyond in 2020. “Our COTA bus drivers, staff, and planners really went beyond the call of duty this last year by being an important part of our COVID-19 Task Force, safely transporting our passengers to our quarantine sites. On top of that, they still maintained their regular services and laid the groundwork for their new building for additional services in the future. Lt. Gov. [Arnold I.] Palacios and I look forward to more excellent work from Alfreda and her team in 2021,” said Torres. (PR)