In general it was a busy and profitable year for summer traffic to the Island by ferry and by air, with steady streams of visitors reaching the Island in the peak season.

But the real transportation success story of the summer appears to be the Vineyard Transit Authority which saw a banner season and set two ridership records in July and August.

On July 5, the bus fleet carried more than 13,000 passengers, the most it’s ever carried in a single day. And in August, the VTA counted the most riders in one month, a total of 323,949 one-way trips aboard its public buses.

Steamship traffic was only up a fraction over last summer. — Mark Lovewell

“We are definitely getting busier,” said transit authority administrator Angela Grant this week. “I am not sure when we are going to stop growing. It explains why we are all tired.”

August saw a 6.8 per cent jump from the previous record set in August of 2013, when ridership totaled 303,175, Mrs. Grant reported. She said it was likely a combination of factors that led to record ridership, including good weather, stronger evening business, a growing commuter base and five weekends in August this year because of the way the calendar fell.

Overall, the transit authority saw a seven per cent increase in ridership over June, July, and August when compared to last year’s numbers, an increase of 52,657 one-way trips.

Much of the growth can be tracked to an increasingly broad customer base, which includes commuters, year-round and seasonal residents and day trippers, Mrs. Grant said.

While day visitors continue to make up a large portion of VTA customers (a group which rides the number 13 bus from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown in droves), she said residents and long-term visitors also have begun to rely on the transit authority in greater numbers.

“I feel it’s more the people that are here that are using the system,” she said.

Sales of 30-day and annual passes also went up in the past year, she said.

Summer crowds place great demands on the bus fleet itself, which must accommodate the Vineyard’s extreme seasonality. During the busiest days in summer, the VTA has nearly every one of its vehicles on the road, with a few left behind as backup.

Whereas days that exceeded 12,000 riders were historically scarce, there were five or six such days this past summer.

“We are carrying consistently 10,000, 11,000 and 12,000 much more often than we used to,” Mrs. Grant said.

This summer, the transit authority improved its efficiency in handling special events, though she said there is always room for further improvement.

The greatest challenge for the agency is sustaining growth in ridership in the off-season, she said.

While the number 13 bus, which runs along Beach Road, is the busiest route in summer, the number 1 bus has the most riders in the off-season. That route follows the length of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, passing through a long residential corridor.

“It is driven by people that live here,” Ms. Grant said.

In other summer traffic tallies, the Steamship Authority saw small gains in traffic to the Vineyard compared with last year.

Overall, passenger traffic was up eight-tenths of a per cent for July and August, an increase that’s on par with the rest of the year.

Vehicle traffic was up four-tenths of a per cent in July, but down 1.8 per cent in August compared with last year.

Cooler weather in August may have contributed to the modest gains, general manager Wayne Lamson said this week.

“Sometimes when it gets really hot in the 90s in the city up around Boston, we might see more tourists on the Cape and the Islands,” he said.

Though August numbers were not yet available for the summer passenger ferries licensed by the SSA, July numbers show mixed results.

In July, passenger traffic aboard the Hy-Line ferry from Hyannis was down 3.7 per cent, while service aboard the Falmouth-Edgartown ferry was up 8.1 per cent.

Seastreak, a passenger ferry out of New Bedford and New York city, had two-tenths of one percent more passengers on the New Bedford route than last summer, and 6.3 per cent fewer passengers on the New York city and New Jersey route.

The Island Queen and Rhode Island Fast Ferry are not licensed by the Steamship Authority (one is grandfathered and the other is out of state) and do not submit traffic data.

Despite the modest increases in traffic, Mr. Lamson’s overall analysis of the summer is positive, he said, as the boat line was able to provide reliable service with few storm events or mechanical issues.

“It was still a pretty good year with not too many missed trips,” the general manager said. “It’s still a solid year.”

At the Martha’s Vineyard Airport preliminary analysis of summer numbers suggests that traffic was slightly down this summer, though hard data are not yet available, according to airport manager Sean Flynn.

A storm during the July Fourth holiday took a toll on landings during that weekend, typically a busy one for the airport.

In addition, special visits commandeered the resources of airport staff and brought temporary flight restrictions to the airport which deter some pilots from landing on the Island. The president arrived on the Vineyard earlier than in past years and stayed longer, prolonging flight restrictions, Mr. Flynn said at recent meeting of the airport commission.

The airport welcomed other guests of honor, including former President Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who came to the Island for a day trip, as well as attorney general Eric Holder.

While these visits bring government aircraft to the airport, they don’t typically fuel up on the Island, Mr. Flynn said.

“Other than the Coast Guard, government sales were not that great,” he said.

“It really hurts us no matter what,” he added later.

Jet fuel sales during Labor Day weekend were comparable to last year, while landing and ramp fees came in higher, up 42 per cent and 82 per cent, respectively.

The significant spike in ramp fees suggests that more airplanes came and stayed for the weekend, instead of just stopping in for the day, Mr. Flynn said.

Now the attention turns to the off-season, the other extreme, when transit agencies operate at a loss.

“It’s definitely a balancing act trying to meet the year-round needs and the seasonal needs,” Mrs. Grant said.