TransLink recently released its 2015 Year-End Financial and Performance Report, and there is some good news to talk about.
In 2013, there was a dip in ridership. In 2014, ridership started to rebound. Riderships grew again in 2015, and is now back to 2012 levels. There were 363.3 million boarded passengers or 238.8 million revenue passengers in 2015. This is a 1.8% increase over 2014. The population of the region increased by 1.4% at the same time. Unfortunately over the last five years, transit ridership has only increased 0.6% while the population of the region has grown by 1.4%.
|Detailed ridership statistic. CMBC includes bus and SeaBus service. Select table to enlarge.|
It is still impressive that there was growth in transit use considering the lack of new investment to expand transit service in the region. There is clearly a built-up demand for transit service, all that is missing is the funding. One area that needs extra attention is HandyDART service which has seen a year-over-year decline in ridership.
By the way, the revenue passenger statistic counts a person only when they begin their transit journey. The boarded passenger statistic also includes transfers.
TranLink had a good year financially too. Both transit ($511m) and taxation ($773m) revenue were up compared to 2014.
With the change to a one zone fare on buses, there was fear that it would result in a drop in revenue. The does not appear to be happening. The one zone change happened in the last quarter of 2015, so it will be interesting to see if there is any impact on revenue in 2016.
The Golden Ears Bridge continued to be a financial burden. Between 2011 and 2014, the subsidy for the bridge increased from $37.9 million to $45.9 million. In 2015, the subsidy stabilized at $45.3 million. $45.3 million could provide a lot of transit service.