Victoria transit improves ridership despite cutbacks

B.C. Transit annual report shows record ridership in Capital Region last fiscal year

Greater Victoria transit users broke ridership records for the second consecutive year, despite a cutback in service hours.

B.C. Transit recorded 25.35 million trips throughout the Capital Region for the year ending March 31, a modest increase of 0.4 per cent over 2010/11 numbers.

“We’re seeing a long-term commitment from our passengers,” said Transit spokeswoman Meribeth Burton.

“Monthly bus passes are up, single tickets are up, U-Pass usage is also up substantially.”

In 2010-11, Capital Region ridership was 43 per cent higher than in areas with similar-sized transit systems, according to the most recent numbers provided by the Canadian Urban Transit Association.

Those same numbers show Victoria transit users get comparably good value for their money. Operating costs for each Greater Victoria passenger were $3, compared to an average of $3.55 in other regions.

Ridership accounts for approximately 30 per cent of revenue for the transit authority. The remainder is comprised of provincial funding (34 per cent), property tax (21 per cent) and fuel tax (11 per cent) supplements. Smaller amounts are also derived from the B.C. Bus Pass and advertising.

Burton said ridership will continue to grow as long as local governments commit to building high-occupancy vehicle lanes and other transit efficiencies.

“The more we can make it attractive, the more ridership will grow with us,” she said.

B.C. Transit operates bus service throughout the province outside of Greater Vancouver. Across the province, 51.6 million passenger trips were recorded last year.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

2011/12 Greater Victoria Regional Transit System

Total cost of service: $108.55 million

CRD ridership: 25.35 million trips, increase of 0.4 per cent from 2010/11

Total fleet: 326 buses (273 conventional, 53 custom)