Ottawa transit ridership down

Warm weather, fare hikes, gas prices, and a shaky job market might account for why ridership was down 4.4% on city buses and the O-Train last summer compared to the same time in 2011.

Almost 22 million passenger trips were made, according to OC Transpo’s quarterly performance report.

Full-time and part-time youth employment in the National Capital Region decreased for most of the period, and fluctuations in the federal workforce, which represents nearly 25% of jobs in the

region, also played a large role in the ridership decrease, the report reads.

Fares went up July 1, while the price of gas remained “relatively low for most of the quarter…reducing the financial advantages of transit,” reads the report.

And then there was Mother Nature, which meant “the unusually dry summer may have contributed to more people walking or biking to work.”

Based on early results from the final quarter, ridership at the end of 2012 is expected to be between 101.6 and 102.4 million customer trips, meaning it could be the second-highest level of transit ridership ever in Ottawa.

On the flip side, on-time performance during the morning rush remained at 71%, a consistent figure for 2012.

Afternoon express service improved, with July and August figures averaging above 72% on-time.

The report will be received at the transit commission meeting on Wednesday.

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/01/13/ottawa-transit-ridership-down

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