Toronto Star transportation reporter Ben Spurr has published a story that suggests the lowly bus is the best way to get an uptick in transit ridership. This is the latest in a series of developments that revisit the bus—long discarded by enthusiasts of expensive “higher order” transit schemes. The city of Detroit recently reported ridership increases of 20 percent on routes served by its new FAST service; essentially buses equipped with Wi-Fi that make limited stops along get routes.

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

5 Comments to: Another vote for versatile buses

  1. Ring Road

    June 1st, 2018

    From the article:

    “…the research from McGill’s School of Urban Planning determined external factors like the economy and gas prices are likely less influential than internal ones relating to transit operations, like service levels and fare prices… They found the factor that had the strongest association with changes in ridership was the amount of bus service agencies deployed. Every 10 per cent increase in kilometres of bus service was associated with an 8.27-per-cent increase in ridership.”

    One more reason why council should abolish area rating and recommit to the operational funding increases outlined in the Ten Year Local Transit Strategy, and introduce signal priority for buses wherever passenger volume and service frequency is substantial. Cutting service isn’t the way forward.

    Hamilton’s crosstown corridor is where ridership is strongest and growing by the largest margins, and where transit-supportive employment and residential density is highest, city-wide. Whether it’s LRT or BRT or just dedicated transit-only lanes, the B-Line needs increased service. That doesn’t in any way preclude the City from committing resources to nodes and corridors in other areas of the city.

    Higher-order transit and conventional transit are not at odds with each other, any more than cars are antithetical to the existence of pedestrian amenities or cycling infrastructure. A healthy transit system requires both robust trunk line service and supportive service levels on feeder routes.

    • jim graham

      June 2nd, 2018

      LRT does nothing to increase service levels…..on the B Line…..or anywhere else….in fact it requires….wait for it……buses…..running right behind trains… order to provide an acceptable level of service.
      It a boondoggle.
      More buses for the B-Line! Yeah!

      • Ring Road

        June 3rd, 2018

        Dedicate 14 lane kilometers eastbound and 14 lane kilometers westbound to B-Line BRT, give all buses jump lanes and signal priority, quadruple the number of buses in active service city-wide, quadruple the number of HSR drivers, and use federal gas tax revenues to soften the property tax levy impact (also redistributed through ending area rating). Then use the flexibility of buses to full advantage. Review the HSR route map annually. Routes that have registered multiple years of ridership below minimum service levels require smaller buses, less often. On lines where ridership has dropped to DARTS van levels, like the A-Line (far below minimum ridership standards after 10 years of service), redeploy those buses to other routes where service can be piloted or existing routes where ridership is measurably expanding. But never cut operational budgets to the HSR. Just use those resources more effectively.

        • jim graham

          June 5th, 2018

          we agree! With lots of dollars left over for DART’s and safe cycling, all on Dougie’s dime!
          Some people are going to be really pissed. Their disappointment will be my satisfaction, helping to make this tasteless debacle a little more palatable.

        • Ring Road

          June 9th, 2018

          $1B should be able to bankroll most of the BLAST rapid transit network, so that’s 100 lane kilometers dedicated to BRT city-wide. And the conventional bus routes that get displaced can be redeployed wherever ridership demand warrants. Short buses for the new suburbs, articulated buses for the heaviest corridors. Separated bike lanes across the entire city. And with the end of area rating, no more debate about whether expanded service is worth it.

          Even so, Council should be wary of the precedent that the premier-elect has pointed to repeatedly: His track record on the 2010-14 Toronto council, under his brother as mayor. The Fords gutted the TTC during that period, specifically targeting its ridership growth strategy.


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