The N&R follows up follows up on PART’s declining ridership with an above-the-fold front-pager (‘PART’s ridership dips 2 percent in 2009’ —-that’s more like it) and a lead editorial.

As you can imagine, I love executive director Brent McKinney’s idea to get more people on the bus —– make it free. I also love the logic —collecting money costs money. The N&R also highlights more federal and state intrusion into our lives when it notes that “(s)tate and federal transportation funding will be tied to a greater extent in the future to local success in reducing motor-vehicle use and increasing bus ridership or at least carpooling.”

With that in mind, the paper concludes that “last year’s dip in ridership was a disappointing step back” and “much stronger numbers are needed this year.”