Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ridership Stats

Every quarter, the American Public Transit Association reports on ridership by transit mode for most major public transit agencies in Canada and the United States. The reports use unlinked passenger trips also called ridership. For example, because I take the 502 and SkyTrain to/from work that would count as 4 trips per day. Anyway, there is some interest data in the latest 3rd quarter 2010 report.

While most transit agency saw single-digit growth in ridership, some systems saw huge grow in certain transit modes. In Edmonton, they saw 18.53% growth in ridership on their light rail system. They completed the Edmonton South Light Rail project in 2010. Toronto saw a 14.76% increase in streetcar usage. They opened the reconstructed 512 St. Clair streetcar line in June 2010.

The biggest gains in ridership happened right here in Metro Vancouver. The SkyTrain system saw a 50% increase in ridership. Some of this was from the Olympics, but most of the growth was likely due to the new Canada Line. It will be interesting to see the 2011 ridership stats for SkyTrain to see how many people kept on taking transit after the games. Also, the SeaBus service saw a 19.97% increase in ridership. What is really interest is that ridership on trolleybuses decreased by 6.19% while diesel bus service only grew by 1.34% which is less than the rate of population growth.

The only diesel bus systems that saw any signification growth was GO Transit in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) which saw an 8.70% increase for their highway coach express buses and Brampton Transit which saw 11.62% growth on their vanilla diesel bus system. With the exception of Brampton which is a small system coming-of-age, it would seem that vanilla bus service isn’t the way to grow transit usage.

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