DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials with Dallas Area Rapid transit (DART) are optimistic they’ll see a bump in ridership because of spiking gasoline prices.

Gas prices have been on the rise for more than a month and public transportation systems across North Texas have seen an increase in passengers.

According to DART spokesman Mark Ball, even when prices spike it takes a while before they see any real increases. “Customers, who are driving their vehicles, will make cuts to be able to pay for their higher gas and they really won’t see it [big increases] until that bill arrives 30 days after the fact,” he said.

If a driver makes those cuts in other areas and still is getting hit hard in the wallet Ball says reality starts to set in. “The next month they are trying to see if they’re gonna be able to continue living that way. Then it’s really the third month when they suggest, ‘hey, maybe I’ll try public transit,’ if they haven’t tried it before.”

As with anything else, DART officials refer to past rider behavior to predict future behavior. “We have seen gas prices help with our ridership in the past. When gas went to $4.00 we saw a marked increase in our ridership,” Ball said.

Ball said so far this year DART has seen a spike in ridership, but can’t attribute it solely to gas prices. The last time gas prices increased as much as they have now DART started charging for parking at some of their stations.

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