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Transit numbers stay up after the Olympics

May 24th, 2010 · 18 Comments

TransLink is pretty darn happy with itself these days, winning awards for service-in-the-face-of-crushing-Olympics-crowds and other categories. This came out earlier this afternoon.

Transit numbers after the Games:

You came, you rode, you kept riding

While TransLink earned worldwide applause for its performance as part of the Transportation Plan during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, one question lingered: would that momentum translate into increased use of public transportation options once the Games were over?

Newly released statistics suggest the answer is ‘Yes’.

Revenue ridership during the month of January rose a respectable 3.1% from January 2009, and then in February, Games Time usage pushed that figure to nearly 22.9 million — almost 51% higher than the previous February.  Then in March, ridership hit 18 million, an increase of 19.3% over March 2009.  Some of the increase was due to the additional riders attracted to the Canada Line before and during the Olympics.  The newest SkyTrain line carried 2.49 million riders in March (not counting those transferring from South of the Fraser bus routes, which had formerly travelled into downtown Vancouver).  A sizeable amount of the remainder also likely reflects people who made the switch to other parts of the transit system during the Olympics and, finding that it worked well for them, stayed on after the Games.

“It was important for the future of Metro Vancouver that we do more than move enormous numbers of people during the Olympics.  It was important that local residents see what their transportation system could do,” says TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis.  “Many found out that there are alternatives beyond driving alone in a vehicle; there’s walking, cycling, ridesharing and especially, that our integrated transit system is a surprisingly viable option.”

Levels of transit service have been growing steadily in Metro Vancouver over the past five years, reaching its current level – the highest ever – at the end of 2009.  TransLink’s current budget enables the Authority to maintain that number of service hours; the integrated system is able to handle these increased loads with the capacity added last year and flexibility.  The Service Rationalization Initiative currently underway over the next 18 months will identify ways of further optimizing TransLink’s resources, system-wide.

Maintaining ridership after the Olympics, coupled with the highly successful TravelSmart program, are key factors in achieving the region’s goal of increasing the share of trips by walking, cycling and transit to more than 50% of all trips by 2030.

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