Siemiatycki on survival of Canadian transit through pandemic

Public transit agencies across Canada are continuing to experience large budget shortfalls during the pandemic. While most agencies continue to provide an acceptable level of service, ridership – and fares – remain low.

According to a recent CBC article, Calgary Transit ridership is currently at 60% of pre-pandemic levels and is predicted to remain there throughout 2021.

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Professor Matti Siemiatycki, Geography and Planning, University of Toronto

UTTRI associated faculty Professor Matti Siemiatycki was interviewed for the article:

He said that right now, buses are driving ridership, instead of light rail.

“You’re seeing the implementation of dedicated bus lanes or priority bus lanes in suburban areas to enable transit to operate more smoothly,” Siemiatycki said.

The silver lining for Canadian transit, Siemiatycki said, is that the federal government invested in funding to help networks through the pandemic.

“In Canada, the provincial and federal governments have continued to invest in transit to provide a bridge through the darkest days of the pandemic,” Siemiatycki said. “The lowest, the most significant losses in revenue … tend to give it a path back to sustainability and to keep it operational.”

Read the complete story “Calgary Transit ridership reaches decades low in 2020: Transit estimates 2021 ridership will stay at 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels,” CBC News, January 18, 2021.

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