There’s been a lot of reflection these past couple of weeks on transit and TransLink. Last week, we celebrated both the 25th anniversary year of SkyTrain and Canada Line’s second birthday. This week, our scope in time is a little shorter but no less significant. You may have caught it on the news yesterday. If not, here is what is going on.
The number of people taking transit in Metro Vancouver is up four percent compared to last year. So far, there have been 114.4 million transit trips this year! Despite having a record ridership last year (a certain event last February really did make the numbers jump!), 2011, like each year for the past 10 years, looks like another record breaker. If you’re curious about the second quarter statistics, everything can be found in the official press release.
With demand for transit continually increasing, TransLink optimizes it’s service four times a year in an effort to put service where it’s needed most. TransLink did this in April and June and will do it again in September. As Brian Mills explained in a previous post, “…travel patterns chance significantly when school starts in September, at the end of university terms in April, at the summer break, and we make one change around the new year to further refine services.” In another post, Brain explains what service optimization is all about, “We’re always managing our services so that we use our limited resources as efficiently and effectively as possible… However, we’re in a time where we don’t have new resources. So what we want to do is make sure that what we’ve got is used effectively.”
When I read and hear about numbers like these, I think to myself, what does this mean in reality? Having been the Editor for the Buzzer for the past five months or so, I’ve been taking the same route to and from work. Taking into consideration seasonal changes (more students on the Expo and Millennium Lines during the afternoons in the summer), I’ve noticed an increase in ridership on the Expo and Millennium Lines and the 99B-Line bus around 5 p.m. Generally, it has been a little harder to find a seat on the train and bus, and I’ve had to stand (which isn’t too bad).
Not having the luxury of traveling all the lines all the time, I’d love to find out if your commute has changed these past six months or so. Have you noticed increases in ridership on certain routes and/or during certain times? And has the increase in ridership meant an overall change in your experience on the bus, the SkyTrain system, West Coast Express or SeaBus?