The Skyway will continue as a fare-free mode of transportation next year.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority's Board of Directors approved a staff recommendation on Thursday to continue the free rides, which started January 30.
It will remain free for at least the next fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2013.
According to a release from the JTA, their latest report on the progress of the Skyway shows the fare elimination has had a positive effect on ridership.
In the six-month period analyzed (February-July 2012), Skyway ridership grew by 62.7% or 480,956 boardings, compared to 295,602 boardings for the same period in 2011.
JTA said the report also found that the fare-free Skyway has supported JTA’s transit redesign efforts, including the elimination of the Beaver and Bay Street Trolleys, the truncation of bus routes into Skyway stations and the linking of additional bus routes to Skyway stations.
The transfer of thousands of passengers to the Skyway results in frequency improvements without added cost, according to the JTA.
The Board’s decision to continue the Skyway as a fare-free transportation method was based partially on the report’s findings.
“This is a huge success for JTA and its riders,” said Michael J. Blaylock, Chief Executive Officer of the JTA.
“The Skyway serves as a critical link in our transportation system and connects many modes of public transit. Keeping the Skyway fare-free will improve efficiency within the transit system, saving our customers time and money.”