Wednesday, May 26, 2021

TransLink ridership steady at 40% of pre-COVID levels, could restore to 70-90% of pre-COVID levels

TransLink staff will be providing an update on ridership recovery and transit service performance in 2020 at the next Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting.

Transit ridership has remained stable at around 40 percent of pre-COVID pandemic levels throughout the last year though not all transit modes retained riders equally. For example, as shown in the following chart, bus service ridership restored more than SkyTrain ridership. West Coast Express ridership is significantly lower than pre-COVID pandemic ridership. This drop isn’t surprising given that it is a commuter service to Downtown Vancouver, and most of these commuters are still working from home.

Resilient and Steady Ridershp Recovery. Select chart to enlarge.

TransLink staff also made the following observations:

With few exceptions, the busiest bus routes in 2019 are still the busiest routes in 2020. Specifically, eight of the top 10 busiest bus routes in 2019 were still among the top 10 routes by boardings in 2020.
Changes in ridership patterns that did occur demonstrate the importance of transit for people making essential trips - while bus ridership recovered more strongly in some parts of the region than in others, ridership on routes that serve essential workers remained strong in 2020.

As for transit ridership recovery in the coming years, there are encouraging indicators. TransLink retained the 2nd highest number of riders of any large transit agency in Canada and the US. Only Los Angeles had higher ridership retention.

70%-90% Ridersihp Recovery Range. Select chart to enlarge.

TransLink staff predict that transit ridership will restore to between 70% and 90% of pre-COVID-19 levels in the near term as people return to work and school. TransLink staff believe that continuing to provide fast, frequent, and on-time service combined with a safe and clean system will be critical to drawing back transit riders.

No comments: