CLEVELAND (WJW) — With gas prices soaring, the FOX 8 I-Team has found a sharp jump in the number of people taking mass transit.

Records show the number of people riding RTA buses and trains has gone way up lately.

The latest figures show RTA bus ridership Monday through Friday is now up a third over the same time last year.

And, the number of passengers taking RTA trains is now up about a quarter.

RTA says some of this may be tied to COVID-19 restrictions loosening and more people going back downtown.

But, the transit agency says much of it is tied to gas prices and people trying to drive less.

At the same time, we found the high gas prices are not affecting the buses and trains since RTA locked in its fuel prices long ago.

RTA Chief Operating Officer Dr. Flounsay Caver said, “So, for 2022 and 2023, we’ve already locked in our price of fuel. So, as prices are moving, we stay really stable.”

He added, “It also allows us to provide stability to our customers. Stability to our employees and reduce the annual variability in our fuel expenses.”

Dr. Caver says RTA started locking in fuel prices ahead of time more than a decade ago after another fuel price crisis.

RTA says, while ridership has gone up, there is no need, yet, to add more buses and trains to the daily routes.