By Sarah Johnson

Missourian Staff Writer

A record number of people rode the shuttle buses to the Washington Fair this year, First Student Dispatcher Sherry Pope said.

This year, 20,207 people took the shuttles, up about 2,000 from last year, Pope said. Last year, 18,274 used the shuttles.

Despite more people on the buses, Director of Operations Brandon Swyers said lower temperatures kept tempers down making things go extra smooth for First Student drivers.

“It was a blast,” he said. “We had good weather and good groups. Last year, with the 115-degree (heat index) temperatures there were a few problems (on the buses), but this year there were no problems. Everyone had a great time.”

On Wednesday, 2,567 people used the shuttles. There were 4,275 riders Thursday, 4,275 Friday and 6,015 on Saturday, despite the fact that there were four fewer hours of shuttle time on that day.

The number of riders on Sunday this year, 2,023, was significantly fewer than last year’s 3,119, Pope said, because there was a large storm last year on that Saturday night.

“I think people wanted to come out and see the damage from the storm,” she said.

Pope said the 15 buses used to shuttle fairgoers traveled a total of 3,898 miles and used 797 gallons of fuel.

Buses traveled from seven locations and dropped people off at the north gate at the fairgrounds.

First Student purchased the bus service from Laidlaw Education Service, which has provided transportation to the Fair since 1992.

First Student provides transportation for the Washington and Union school districts.