TransLink 2010 Ridership
February 10, 2011
Olympic transit surge sustained one year later
More people-friendly transit, and transit-friendly people in 2010
The large increase in transit usage that followed the 2010 Olympic Winter Games is still evident, one year after the Games. Metro Vancouver’s transportation system recorded 26 million boardings during the 17-day Games Time period in February; the average of 1.58 million daily trips was 40 per cent more than a normal weekday. While driving and parking restrictions in Downtown Vancouver during that period left commuters with buses, SeaBus or SkyTrain as their best options, newly released ridership data indicate people have continued using public transit and otherwise responded to the TravelSmart message during the Olympics.
The number of boardings (each time a person gets on a transit vehicle) increased 11.0 per cent over 2009 to just under 348 million. Subtracting February from each year, which was skewed by the Olympics, the total of nearly 309.5 million boardings in 2010 is 7.8 per cent higher than 2009.
“The Olympics showed the people of Metro Vancouver what their system can do,” says CEO Ian Jarvis. “It’s gratifying to see that so many of them have stayed.”
Part of the reason for the increase is the addition of the SkyTrain Canada Line, which recorded nearly 38.5 million boardings in 2010. TransLink’s Fare Audit surveys have found 40 per cent of Canada Line customers use the SkyTrain line as part of an integrated travel plan – connecting from South of Fraser routes or crosstown buses in the city of Vancouver; 60 per cent of Canada Line customers are using it for their entire trip.
Many Canada Line customers also formerly used the 98 B-Line: this would account for a year-over-year drop in bus ridership.
An interesting figure is a sharp jump in ridership on West Vancouver Transit. “Blue Bus” recorded 9.8 million boardings in 2010. Again removing the figures for the February months, that represents a 6.4 per cent lift over 2009.
West Coast Express registered a 6.1 per cent increase in boardings, to nearly 2.8 million, primarily due to the midday trips that were added during the Olympics. It is clear from this and the success of expanded TrainBus schedule that residents along the West Coast Express route embrace additional service when it is available. While adding midday runs is currently not possible, the new railcars acquired in late 2010 allow for longer trains and more available seats. Even discounting the “Olympics factor”, the number of boardings increased a healthy 3.3 per cent over 2009.
The Olympics also ushered in a new way of connecting with customers. In summer of 2009, TransLink began using Twitter to send service updates. During the “Free Day” at the opening of the Canada Line, Twitter gained more followers, and those ranks grew during the Olympics and the social media site proved to be a valuable two-way communications tool. Now, Customer Information has a “Designated Twitter” and the “@translink” account has over 6800 followers.
Very importantly, the 2010 Olympics gave Metro Vancouverites a look at the probable transportation scenario 30 years into the future, with strict restrictions on road use in downtown Vancouver and more space given over to people and non-motorized private transportation. TravelSmart thinking during the Games helped people consider other ways of getting around, without necessarily using single-occupant vehicles or public transit during heavily used rush hours. Methods such as teleworking, carsharing, ridesharing and even altering commuting patterns to avoid the “peak of the peak” periods also gained popularity, putting the region on-course to achieve the goal of reducing the percentage of “driver-only” trips to less than 50 by 2040.
|MODE (figures in parentheses are the total minus the month of February)||2009||2010||percentage change discounting February|
||-1.2 per cent
||7.2 per cent
|SKYTRAIN – E/M
||3.9 per cent
|SKYTRAIN – C
||Not applicable as C-Line only started in Aug. 2009
|WEST COAST EXPRESS
||3.3 per cent
||7.8 per cent