Thursday, April 21, 2011

All-time high OC Transpo ridership in 2010 Q4

According to CTV, ridership at OC Transpo hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2010:

The latest figures from the city show OC Transpo ridership increased by more than five per cent over the same quarter in 2009.

The city says the introduction of the U-pass was a large contributor to the spike. It's estimated the bus pass contributed to an additional 300,000 student trips each month.

The news is good for two reasons: First, it proves that students at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa are making full use of their significantly discounted universal student bus passes. This shows that the investment the city's making is working, and that students are making use of the opportunities afforded through the U-Pass. But more significantly, it looks like there are no residual effects resulting from the winter transit strike of 2008-09. Ridership numbers had fallen in both 2008 and 2009, but it wasn't clear whether that was caused entirely by the service disruption or whether people had found other ways of getting around the city. Although we haven't yet seen the full annual number for ridership in 2010, this most recent announcement suggests we're going to see a spike in ridership compared to past years. OC Transpo's all-time high ridership was 95,646,026, set in 2007.


Anonymous said...

I don't really see the "success" of the U-Pass as being good news.

Carrying more passengers at a deeply discounted rate only puts pressure on vehicle capacity (affecting people who pay full fare) and puts additional financial pressure on the system (the need to increase capacity, without receiving any additional revenue).

Very few of these new student riders would have been driving to school so it's hardly a victory for the environment, they've only been redirected from walking or biking, etc.

This is hardly something to celebrate when the Commission has just approved some pretty deep route cuts, primarily affecting the disabled, seniors, the working poor and (ironically) students.

Maybe someone can enlighten me why the U-Pass is a good idea in any other sense than it's a killer good deal for students.

Dean said...

I am certainly no fan of the U Pass.
One small consolation is more students relying on public transit helps bolster the argument for LRT.

Anonymous said...

This is good news, as I would think that one benefit of the U pass would be to acclimatize students to the benefits of public transit so that they continue to use the service after graduation.

Anonymous said...

Really? All I ever here on the bus is students complaining about how much the bus sucks and how they can't wait until they can afford a car. With all the packed buses and resulting service issues, the U-pass is turning them off more than anything.