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Old Posted Jan 15, 2022, 8:50 PM
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Doady Doady is offline
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The city that expanded their transit system the most in the past 20 years in Canada was most likely Brampton, Ontario and likely it was the leader in North America. Brampton Transit ridership grew from less than 8 million linked trips in 2003 to over 31 million in 2019. By US standards, that would be around 10 million unlinked trips to over 40 million, almost 4 times increase. Granted, this followed years of neglect and underfunding, and coincided with rapid population growth, but it is still almost doubling of the ridership per capita from 22 to 47 riders per capita within a 15 year period. Hard to beat that.

Unfortunately, Brampton Transit recently announced major service cut and many routes cancelled as a result of ridership loss from the pandemic, and these changes are to come into effect on Monday.

Brampton Transit to temporarily cut routes, reduce service due to COVID-19
Changes will take effect on Jan. 17, service to be restored 'as soon as possible': city
The Canadian Press ยท Posted: Jan 13, 2022 7:57 AM ET | Last Updated: January 13
Brampton Transit is temporarily cancelling service on some 20 routes, citing COVID-19 related staffing shortages and reduced ridership.

The city northwest of Toronto says its transit agency it will also reduce service on more than 20 other routes to ensure the system can continue to operate.

The city says the changes will take effect on Jan. 17 and service will be restored as soon as possible.

The announcement comes days after the regional transit agency Metrolinx cut back service by roughly 15 per cent across its network due to COVID-19.


As for the least progress in Canada, that award would have to go the neighbouring agency, York Region Transit, which saw very little ridership growth even after major expansion of services starting in 2005, including BRT and transitways and even TTC subway expansion into their territory. As the result of lack of ridership growth, and even some ridership loss in recent years, even before the pandemic, they had to scale back a lot of the new services anyways. After all, riders and fare revenue are the main source of funding for any transit system, and York Region shows how important it is for agencies to make sure ridership meet expectations and not let that ridership fall.

Problem with York Region is all those BRTs and subway didn't fix their main problem: the lack of continuous corridors for transit, especially east-west corridors. One major east-west corridor is broken, and there is another that is not broken that York Region refuses to service because it is already served by Toronto and the TTC. So the result is an incomplete system with some very big gaps, forcing people to have to walk too far to be able to use transit.

When I look at Raleigh, when I look at their road network, I see the same problem. No matter how much they are willing to spend on transit, their transit system is going to have some big gaps in it. It will be an incomplete system no matter what. Successful transit is more than spending more rail and bus service. A city has to spend to lay the foundation for transit even before that by building the right roads.

"Permeability" is arguably the biggest difference between an inner city and suburb, and it isn't just important for walkability, it's also important for high transit ridership. You don't just need a lot of corridors for people to walk on, you also need a lot of corridors for transit vehicles to operate on. Lack of "permeability" is what has held York Region back despite being the most aggressive and ambitious in expanding transit in Canada in the past 20 years, and the lack of such will also hold any of Raleigh's efforts back.
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