Why the TTC should focus on travel times.Transit demand rises with gas prices, survey finds
Sep 01, 2008 12:59 PM
More Canadians are looking towards public transit and other alternatives to driving as rising gas prices cut into their personal spending, a national survey released today said.
But as transit use continues to climb across the country, many city-dwellers still cite long wait and travel times as the biggest deterrent from taking trains and buses, a problem that will likely only get worse with increased usage, said the report prepared on behalf of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian Urban Transit Association.
"Our transit systems can't cope with the surge in demand that is coming as a result of higher gas prices," said FCM president, Jean Perrault. "What we need now is the political will to speed up the investments in public transit to get more buses on the road and improve existing rail service."
While 20 per cent of respondents said they had already switched to public transit to mitigate the higher gas prices, many others indicated that increased transit performance standards would likely convince them to make the shift.
Sixty-five per cent said they could be motivated to use public transit if travel times were quicker, while 64 per cent cited shorter waiting times as a potentially motivating factor, the survey said. Longer hours of operation, lower fares and more comfortable rides were also cited.
Transit use has set record levels in recent years, noted CUTA Chair, Steve New, during a teleconference call today.
"Right across Canada we're seeing all-time records in transit ridership already," he said, noting the strain this has put on transit systems, particularly during rush hour.
"There's also very strong expectations of transit ridership surging this month as Canadians rethink their transportation options as they return to work and school."
Altogether, New said, CUTA members are calling for a $40 billion federal investment over the next five years to help repair and expand systems nationwide.