Calgary CTrain (source: CUTA)
Reporting 2.11 billion passenger trips for 2017, Canadian transit systems bucked a North American trend and reported their first aggregate increase in national ridership since 2014, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) upon the release of CUTA ridership statistics for 2017 during its Annual Conference and Transit Show, which took place from November 19 to 21 in Toronto..
2017 saw a 1.5% increase in Canadian transit trips over the previous year, about 30 million additional passenger trips. While some transit systems reported decreases in ridership over the same period, growth from other systems contributed to an overall national increase.
Systems reporting ridership growth in 2017 commonly identified an increase in service levels as a key enabler of their ridership growth. Factors that contribute to an increase in service levels include more service hours, higher service efficiency and reconfigured routes.
Other positive influencers on ridership as reported include growing student populations, increased tourism, higher gas prices, economic development and higher employment rates in some communities.
“This upward trend in ridership is welcome news and provides important information to transit systems and to the governments that fund them,” said Marco D’Angelo, president and CEO of CUTA. “Systems that offer more services to their customers are often rewarded with higher ridership. That said, the challenge for transit systems is offering increased service levels while working with limited operating budgets.”