2016 Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions

  • Montreal transit leads in the nation
  • Metro Vancouver maintains “A” grade

Public transit is a critical component of the transportation network of major Canadian urban regions. How, though, do our transit systems perform?

While this information is available, it hasn’t been easily accessible to the average Canadian. This is why Nathan Pachal, with the help of urban planner Paul Hillsdon, launched a Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions last year.

Pachal 2“This is what technical reports should aspire to: lots of comparative data distilled into easy-to-grasp results that’s easy to read,” Gordon Price, director of the City Program at SFU states.

“People are very passionate about transit,” say Pachal, “and that leads to very strong opinions about transit service providers. Unfortunately, many of these opinions are based on purely anecdotal evidence. These transit reports card, however, provide an evidence-based evaluation of transit service.”

New in this year’s report card is a section tracking national median metrics. The operating cost of providing transit service slightly increased between 2013 and 2014 due to inflationary pressures (2014 is the most recent year for which complete data is available.)

Transit service hours also slightly decreased which resulted in a slight decrease in passenger trips per capita. Passenger Trip Intensity slightly increased at a national level meaning that transit agencies in Canada’s major urban regions have become more efficient.

“Investing in transit service is of critical importance,” Pachal states. “In 2014, investment in new transit service hours did not keep up with population growth. With a new federal government, there has been renewed interest in investing in public transit projects. Equally important is investment in on-going operations costs.

This, of course, takes the leadership of provincial and local governments.” Montreal was the only region in Canada to see an increase in its grade as its operating cost per service hour came in line with other regions in Canada.

The Montreal region is by far the best performing major region in Canada. Metro Vancouver was the only other region to maintain its “A” grade. TransLink continues to provide the most efficient transit service of the regions evaluated. While TransLink has the highest operating cost per service hour, because it is also one of the most efficient agencies, it has a lower operating cost per trip compared to the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area.

Nathan Pachal was the founder of South Fraser OnTrax and transit commentator. He was elected to Langley City Council this year. 


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