Thursday, January 11, 2018

Removal of tolls having minor impact on transit ridership growth

Earlier this week, I posted about how the removal of the tolls on Fraser River crossings has resulted in increased commute times for people that travel along the Highway 1 corridor.

The 555 which runs between Carvolth Exchange at 202 Street along the freeway, and Lougheed Town Centre SkyTrain Station, is an extremely successful route. The route is experiencing double-digit growth in ridership. TransLink continues to increase service frequency on that route.

Earlier this month, TransLink increased service to every 5 to 6 minutes between 6am and 7am; every 5 minutes between 7am and 8am; and, every 5 to 10 minutes between 8am and 9am for 555 trips heading westbound.

With the removal of the tolls, a shift in mode from transit to driving for some commuters was expected. TransLink staff looked at several routes to see if there was an impact. The following map shows the routes that were studied.

Five bus routes and the Expo SkyTrain cross the Fraser River (George Massey Tunnel excluded). Select map to enlarge.

TransLink staff found that before the removal of the tolls, transit routes were growing at a slightly faster rate. Overall, there has only been a small impact on transit ridership growth since the removal of the tolls.

Ridership growth impacts due to the removal of tolling on Fraser Rivers crossings. Select slide to enlarge.

The 595 which crosses the Golden Ears, and 555 which crosses the Port Mann, are still seeing double digit ridership growth. SkyTrain ridership growth continues at the same pace.

Given the choice between being stuck in congestion or taking transit, people are choosing to take transit.

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