The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority announced Monday that a record 6.6-million riders rode AATA buses in 2012, according to a report by the American Public Transportation Association.

The report places bus ridership for Ann Arbor’s TheRide above most other Michigan cities, including Port Huron, Kalamazoo and Flint — though trailing behind Lansing, Grand Rapids and Detroit.

The number of AATA riders has increased by 6.6 percent since 2011, and by more than 50 percent since 2004. The uptick was part of a 1.5-percent overall gain in public transportation participation nationwide — totaling 10.5 billion rides in the United States.

The AATA also released its annual audit of its budgetary report for 2011 and 2012, which attributed their success to the implementation of the city’s new AirRide shuttle service — a route between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport — in April 2012.

Operating expenses totaled $32.45 million, a nearly 10-percent increase primarily due to extensions made to bus routes, AATA said. The city’s operating revenues also saw a $671,000 rise — which reflects increased ridership — a 28-percent increase on the Route 4 Washtenaw, a 53-percent increase on the NightRide and an 89-percent increase on HolidayRide.

Miscellaneous deposits and investments by the AATA — about $9.9 million — were distributed to bank deposits, government liquid asset fund accounts, money market funds and heating oil futures.

The report also cites assets totaling $54.2 million — an 11.1-percent increase —resulting from a $6.4-million purchase of 10 hybrid, diesel-electric buses, a $2.05-million expansion of the bus storage garage and $15.3 million in land and building investments for 2012.

Included in the AATA’s expenditures were employee benefits, such as the Health Care Savings Plan, which has provided employees pre-tax funds for medical expenses since Jan. 1, 2008. The AATA contributed $125 each month to HCSP for eligible employees, totaling $250,875 in 2012. Additionally, $871,178 was spent on Social Security payroll taxes, $1.9 million on medical insurance, $785,717 on pension benefits, $250,875 on the HCSP and $81,784 on post-retirement medical benefits.

In 2012, the AATA received $8.5 million in non-operating revenue from the state and $2.8 million from the federal government. State and federal funding grants were sought for outstanding commitments remaining on the purchase of new buses and the construction of the Blake Transit Center.

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