Fair shuttle usage was up by more than 2,300 riders during the 2012 Washington Town and Country Fair Aug. 1-5.

This year, 18,274 fairgoers took advantage of the shuttle service provided by First Student, compared to 15,939 in 2011.

Despite this year’s number being higher than last year, it is still lower than in 2010, when 21,532 used the service and 2009, when 25,427 used the shuttle.

In 2008, 29,703 riders took the shuttles, and in 2007, there were about 28,359 riders.

“It’s starting to go up again,” said Sherry Pope, location safety manager/dispatch officer, who reported increases each day.

The breakdown was Wednesday, 2,385; Thursday, 3,271; Friday, 4,405; Saturday, 5,094; and Sunday 3,119.

Pope said she’s happy to see the increase in shuttle users.

First Student provides the service free of charge to the Washington Town and Country Fair.

“We like to give back to the community and show our appreciation to the school districts and the community,” Pope said.

Buses ran every 20 to 25 minutes between 10 parking lots throughout Washington and the north gate of the fairgrounds, which allowed breaks for the drivers.

Shuttles ran from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Friday,

The shuttle was scheduled to run through 11 p.m. Saurday, but severe weather ended the night early. Shuttles ran from noon to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Pope said she was proud of her staff, especially how they handled the storm.

“Everybody did an outstanding job,” she said.

Pope said shuttle service was continuous Saturday night during the storms and that drivers were able to transport 3,650 people back to lots. An additional 350 had to wait until the storm passed to be shuttled back to their cars.

“We had great, outstanding drivers that night and throughout the entire Fair” Pope said.