Canadian public transit ridership statistics for 2008 showed an increase of 3.5 percent nationally, setting another record year with 1.82-billion trips, according to a Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) report. This increase is a 16 percent increase over the five-year period since 2003.
"For six consecutive years, Canadian transit systems continue to out-do the previous year's record," said CUTA Chair Charles Stolte. "The growth is an increase of 62 million trips, which is more than the entire ridership at a transit system the size of Québec City or Edmonton Transit."
Added CUTA President/CEO Michael Roschlau: "What is most significant about the new figures is that - while ridership grew by 2.6 percent nationally in the first half of 2008 - it grew by 4.5 percent in the second half, compared to the same period a year earlier. That was precisely the time when the economy started to fall into recession and unemployment was going up, while gas prices had fallen back down from the spike in the summer of 2008. Historically, transit ridership has been negatively correlated with these trends."
CUTA's most recent national infrastructure survey reported a $40.1 billion need for public transit capital investment for the period 2008-2012. The association also continues to advocate for the implementation of a National Transit Strategy that includes dedicated long term funding to support transit needs in communities of all sizes across Canada.
"CUTA will continue to work toward the establishment of a National Transit Strategy to further meet the demands of Canadians," said Stolte. "With substantial ridership growth in communities of all sizes, the need for sustainable long term funding, planning and support has never been greater."