The passenger counts at Durham Region Transit are on the increase. According to DRT’s Corporate Services Co-ordinator, passenger counts are up an average of 13.8%. The largest ridership increase occurred in April 2008 with a increase of 23.75%. The summer months also proved to be productive with a 12.4-per-cent increase in ridership in July. These figures are formulated by comparing a similar period in 2007.
According to Ted Galinis, General Manager for DRT, there has been an 18 per cent increase in Co-Fares since January 2008 . This is a special reduce fare (65 cents) for customers that travel to or from a Go Train Station. Passengers also require proof of a valid GO Pass or ticket. Go Transit contributes a subsidy on Co-Fares.
Ridership at Go Transit continues an upward trend with an 8.2% jump, comparing June 2007 and June 2008. The month of July has produced a 11% increase in passengers. Even with the increase July and August are still normally a time when numbers decline.
Another reason for Go Transit increase is that it has added several new bus routes and expanded service on existing routes. GO Transit reached a new milestone in September, surpassing 2,000 bus trips on an average weekday. The Hwy. 407 GO Bus service continues to experience the highest increases, with weekday ridership up more than 20% from last year. More frequent service along this route, along with the growing enrollment at York University, have made this service one of GO's busiest bus routes.
This increase of passengers is just not restricted to the Greater Toronto Area. It is something, that is happening across North America. Interviews with commuters have suggested that high fuel ($1.369 Friday September 12) and operating cost of a car have contributed to th switch. I also see other reasons such as reliable and frequent service. Newer vehicles with air conditioning, are also attractive options for new and potential customers.
The real test now begins as we wait to see, if DRT will be able to handle an increase in passengers. If Route 915 Taunton, is used a benchmark (see previous post) there is still a lot of work left to do. If these situations of over capacity are permitted to continue, would it be correct to place the blame on Durham Region for lack of proper funding?