With gas prices pushing $5 a gallon, the Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) is reporting a record surge in the number of bus riders. MTD officials claimed that on 6/26 they gave a ride to their eight-millionth passenger-a record for the transit line. By contrast, the highest number of riders MTD has reported in the past was last fiscal year, with 7.6 million. While the rising price of gas is making MTD an attractive alternative to people who traditionally don’t ride the bus, MTD itself is hardly immune from the same economic pressures. The public transit company reports fuel costs in the past year have increased by more than $1 million. To offset those expenses, the company will be increasing bus fare, now $1.25, by an amount yet to be determined. MTD will begin hosting a series of public meetings on prospective fare hikes later in July.