Ottawa

OC Transpo ridership stable despite challenging year

OC Transpo ridership climbed slightly in the first part of this year, despite complaints about delayed or missing buses and the fact LRT still isn't up and running.

Overall ridership is down from peaks in 2011, however

Despite considerable challenges with the service, OC Transpo's ridership during the first part of 2019 remained comparable to the same period in 2018. (CBC)

OC Transpo ridership climbed slightly in the first part of this year, despite complaints about delayed or missing buses and the fact LRT still isn't up and running.

According to the latest numbers, there were roughly 34.5 million rides on OC Transpo in the first four months of 2019, up slightly from 34.4 million in the same time frame on 2018. 

Generally, transit ridership has been in a decline since hitting a peak of 103.5 million rides in 2011. Last year the overall ridership was 96.5 million, where it has been for roughly the last four years. 

In a memo on the new numbers, city staff said that trend seen is mirrored in cities across North America.

They hope the eventual opening of the LRT will begin to reverse it. 

"The Confederation Line will bring to an end the longer travel times and reduced reliability caused by construction, will increase the reliability of the entire transit system by removing many buses from busy downtown streets, and will provide the capacity for many decades of growth," reads the memo to council. 

The memo also notes that many more people in Ottawa are now cycling or walking to work, in line with the city's goals, but those may come at the expense of increasing transit ridership. 

"As people shift their travel to these modes, they are more likely to shift from transit than from auto use," it says.

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