Transit ridership jumped 85% in past week, says TransLink

A major spike in system-wide boardings is a sign that transit ridership is beginning to recover, TransLink reported Wednesday.

Last week, boardings across the entire Metro Vancouver transit system were 85 per cent higher than the second week of April, which had the lowest ridership levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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During that week, April 5 to April 11, only 1,396,000 boardings were recorded. Meanwhile, the week of May 31 to June 6 saw 2,578,000 boardings system-wide.

translink ridership levels
Source: TransLink

“I’m very pleased to see our customers gradually returning to the transit system,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a statement.

However, TransLink said that while ridership has been “gradually increasing,” it’s still low across the system when compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. Currently, system-wide boardings are at about 33 per cent of the levels they were at last year.

The Canada Line, SeaBus and West Coast Express saw the largest jump in ridership in the past week, jumping 103 per cent (221,000 boardings), 130 per cent (23,000 boardings) and 200 per cent (6,000 boardings), respectively, when compared to the week of April 5.

Bus ridership jumped by 81 per cent, with 1,631,000 boardings in the past week, while the Expo-Millenium line saw 697,000 boardings (an 87 per cent jump).

Mode

Boardings April 5 -11, 2020

Boardings May 31 -June 6 2020

Increase

Systemwide*

1,396,000

2,578,000

+85 per cent

Bus

903,000

1,631,000

+81 per cent

Expo-Millennium

372,000

697,000

+87 per cent

Canada Line

109,000

221,000

+103 per cent

SeaBus

10,000

23,000

+130 per cent

West Coast Express

2,000

6,000

+200 per cent

HandyDART**

4,300

6,700

+56 per cent


Desmond said the transit authority has been working hard to ensure that “customers have confidence in transit,” as B.C. slowly reopens, by developing the Safe Operating Action Plan.

Under that plan, cleaning and sanitizing of transit vehicles and hubs has increased, physical distancing is promoted where possible, and customers are encouraged to wear masks if they are able to.

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