Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Transit ridership growing faster than population in Metro Vancouver

Back in October, TransLink posted that they were seeing record-level growth in transit ridership in Metro Vancouver during the first half of 2017. With 2017 now a distant memory, full-year data has been released by the agency. The following table shows more detail on transit ridership in our region.

Year Boardings (Million) Percent Change
2017 406.84 5.7%
2016 384.3 -
2017 Boardings by Mode
Bus 247 3.2%
Expo/Millennium Lines 105 12%
Canada Line 46 6.3%
West Coast Express 2.32 -5.5%
SeaBus 5.84 7.3%

Not surprisingly, Expo and Millennium Line ridership saw double digit growth with the opening of the Evergreen Extension to Coquitlam. It was expected that some West Coast Express riders would switch to using SkyTrain as a result. West Coast Express ridership was down 5.5%.

Canada Line also saw strong ridership increases; TransLink increased peak hours service on the Canada Line in 2017.

SeaBus ridership peaked in 2010, and started a steady decline. In 2017, TransLink increased service frequent on the SeaBus. At the same time, there was strong growth in SeaBus ridership.

While bus service doesn’t capture the imagination of politicians, the media, or the general public as much as other modes of transit, over 60% of all transit ridership in our region is from bus service. Because of investments made due to the 10-Year Vision, and a strong economy, bus ridership also saw a strong increase in ridership.

Between 2016 and 2017, the population of Metro Vancouver grew about 1.1%. Transit ridership in our region grew 5.7%. This means that more people in our region are choosing to take transit to get around than over forms of travel. To put this into perspective, 14.3% of commuters used transit in 1996 in Metro Vancouver. In 2016, that number grew to 20.4%.

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