Monday, July 18, 2016

2016 Transit Report Card Released: Montreal leads; Metro Vancouver maintains “A” grade

Public transit is a critical component of the transportation network of major Canadian urban regions. How, though, do our transit systems perform? While this information is available, it hasn’t been easily accessible to the average Canadian. This is why I, with the help of urban planner Paul Hillsdon, launched a Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions last year.

People are very passionate about transit and that leads to very strong opinions about transit service providers. Unfortunately, many of these opinions are based on purely anecdotal evidence. These transit reports card, however, provide an evidence-based evaluation of transit service.

New in this year’s report card is a section tracking national median metrics. The operating cost of providing transit service slightly increased between 2013 and 2014 due to inflationary pressures (2014 is the most recent year for which complete data is available.) Transit service hours also slightly decreased which resulted in a slight decrease in passenger trips per capita.

Passenger Trip Intensity slightly increased at a national level meaning that transit agencies in Canada’s major urban regions have become more efficient.

Investing in transit service is of critical importance. In 2014, investment in new transit service hours did not keep up with population growth. With a new federal government, there has been renewed interest in investing in public transit projects. Equally important is investment in on-going operations costs. This, of course, takes the leadership of provincial and local governments.

Montreal was the only region in Canada to see an increase in its grade as its operating cost per service hour came in line with other regions in Canada. The Montreal region is by far the best performing major region in Canada.

Metro Vancouver was the only other region to maintain its “A” grade. TransLink continues to provide the most efficient transit service of the regions evaluated. While TransLink has the highest operating cost per service hour, because it is also one of the most efficient agencies, it has a lower operating cost per trip compared to the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area.

Download the 2016 Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions.


Anonymous said...

In Surrey bus frequency is up to an hour. Buses are often late. Some times people have to wait for1hour for half an hour frequency bus as complete trip is missed. In many important areas there's no bus service, people have to walk for 4 blocks or more.
In Vancouver, sometimes I have to take 41 from Joyce station to Fraser Street. Often the bus is loaded very badly-it feels you are travelling in some third world country, not in a rich country like Canada. What about subsidy provided by taxpayers which was $773 Million for 2015, an increase of $29 Million over 2014? Translink shows this tax money as "Taxation Revenue". What about $314 Million Translink committed for Compass card? Will there be any return on this bag-full of money?
If more areas are under-serviced or not serviced, and over-crowded buses are run on serviced areas, Translink will become number 1 in Canada. This, of course, will happen at the cost of poor taxpayers.

Unknown said...

Useful work, Nathan, and especially useful to Vancouver audiences to see how TransLink stacks up.

It's notable that in every case but Edmonton, transit users pay more than 50 per cent of system costs. We could wish it was higher, but the fact is that when fares get too high, ridership drops and so do revenues.