Sudbury drivers ditching cars for bus rides
City transit ridership increasing
In the northern Ontario city of Sudbury, where roadway potholes are legendary, more and more people are parking their cars and becoming bus riders.
About 800,000 more bus rides were taken in the last decade as the number of people using public transit to get around in Sudbury continues to climb. Currently the city logs around five million bus rides per year.
It's been six months since Jennifer Vansantvoort parked her car and bought a bus pass. The 30-year-old downtown office worker smiles as cars whiz past her Val Caron bus stop on their way to the city.
"For me it was mostly an issue with money," she said. "It was costing me a fortune to pay for parking and find reliable parking. So why would I drive my vehicle for one person?"
She isn't the only one making that decision.
'Real smart people' ride transit
Sudbury city councillor Jacques Barbeau, who sits on the board of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, said the city bus is no longer just for people who can't afford a car.
"I think the demographic of transit riders is changing," Barbeau said. "And let's be honest … the real smart people in our community are the ones riding transit … not owning their own vehicles."
Those new riders are being seen on all bus routes in Greater Sudbury, including those that run to outlying areas like Lively and Coniston.
The manager of Greater Sudbury transit said traffic congestion and high gas prices help bring new riders on board, he said running a consistent and efficient transit system is key to getting those converts.
"The population isn't increasing to the same level as our ridership is," Roger Sauve said. "So that means we are converting people and people are making the changes."
He noted improving the system is easier when more Sudburians are using it.