The number of people opting to take public transit to the Edmonton International Airport and surrounding area has more than doubled since last spring, a new report finds.

“We went from around 12,000 riders per month and we immediately saw an increase to around 25,000 or more,” City of Edmonton Program Manager Ian Gallagher told the Inter-Municipal and Regional Development Committee Friday.

In early 2018 the Airport Accord Oversight Committee opted to improve transit service to the airport and the surrounding businesses.

The decision resulted in the addition of two new bus stops at the outlet mall and Costco, coupled with a fare reduction slashed from $10 to $5.

With new businesses in the area, lower transit fees and more stops, the 747 bus line linking Century Park and the EIA saw ridership shoot up 64 per cent between January and August 2018.

The EIA also introduced a free shuttle service to connect the airport terminal with businesses within airport lands.

“I just wanted to say congratulations,” Mayor Don Iveson said in Friday’s committee meeting. “We turned this thing around.”

Council is set to release more ridership numbers from September 2018 to May 2019 on Friday.