Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Transit investments pay off with increased ridership in 2017. 2018 will be a critical year for transit’s future.

For many major transit agencies in North America, 2017 was a year of modest or no growth in ridership. In Ottawa, Edmonton, and Calgary, transit ridership was on-track to slightly decline. In Toronto, TTC ridership was essentially flat. Transit ridership in Montreal was on-track to increase by around 2%.

2016 2017 Change
Boardings: January 1 to November 30
355.05 M 377.41 M 6.30%
Boardings by Mode in November
Bus 20.70 M 21.27 M 2.80%
Expo/Millennium 8.03 M 8.93 M 11.20%
Canada Line 3.62 M 3.79 M 4.90%
SeaBus .41 M .44 M 7.20%
West Coast Express .23 M .21 M -6.60%
All modes 32.98 M 34.65 M 5.10%

Metro Vancouver ridership is on-track to increase by 6% in 2017. With the introduction of the Evergreen Extension to the Tri-Cities area, Expo/Millennium ridership has skyrocketed. Overall transit ridership has seen massive gains in the Tri-Cities with 25% growth during the weekdays, and 50% growth during the weekends. The introduction of SkyTrian service to this part of Metro Vancouver has had a profound impact on how people get around.

Bus ridership, Canada Line ridership, and SeaBus ridership also increased which was due to the implementation of new or enhanced transit service as part of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Vision.

West Coast Express ridership has seen a decline which is no surprise given the introduction of SkyTrain service in the Tri-Cities area.

2018 should continue to see increased transit ridership as the Mayors’ Vision continues to be rolled out. More new bus service hours will be added this year.

The last year was an overall positive year for transit service improvements in Metro Vancouver. With the recent shake-up at the Mayors’ Council, I hope that moving forward with transit improvements including light rail along King George Boulevard, 104 Avenue, and Fraser Highway isn’t delayed. It would be a shame to see all the good work in developing the Mayors’ Council’s plan, and its implementation, be unravelled.

2018 will be a critical year for the future of transit service improvements in our region because the provincial government will have to enable new funding, including a regional developer cost charge, and another regionally-sourced, provincially-controlled revenue source. If the province does not, transit expansion, including light rail in the South of Fraser, will grind to a halt.

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