Whitehorse transit ridership doubles in 5 years

A city of Whitehorse report says investments in the city bus service in recent years have paid off. Ridership in Whitehorse doubled between 2010 and 2015, while many other Canadian cities have seen fewer people using public transit.

'Absolutely incredible' increase in bus use, says city transit manager

The city of Whitehorse has expanded its transit service since 2010, with new routes and evening service. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

The city of Whitehorse is boasting about bus ridership in the city, after a report found that transit use has steadily grown over the last five years.

"Our stats are incredibly high," transit manager Cheri Malo told city councilors Monday evening.

A report commissioned by the transit department found that Whitehorse bus ridership went up by 72 per cent between 2010 and 2014. Malo says the figures went up further in 2015, to more than 630,000 paid fares — doubling the ridership numbers from 2010.

The report noted that Canada-wide statistics show transit use went up just nine per cent between 2010 and 2014, and in cities with fewer than 50,000 people, ridership actually went down by 10 per cent. 

The trend in Whitehorse, therefore, "is absolutely incredible," Malo said. "[It's] very much noted in each and every transit across Canada right now."

Malo said it's clear the city's recent investments in the transit system are paying off. Since 2010, the city has revamped the schedule, added new routes, extended bus service into the evening, and introduced transit passes for high school and Yukon College students. 

"All these initiatives are why transit is growing in great leaps and bounds," she said.

Some city councilors pointed out on Monday that it still comes at a price. The city invested nearly $3.5 million in the transit service in 2014, but only received back about $1 million in fares and other revenues.

"In 2010, per capita, we were contributing about $51 to support transit. We're [now] up to $85 per capita," said councilor Dan Boyd.

"It costs money. Lots of money."


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