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Public transit ridership reached record high in 2011, Canadian Urban Transit Association says


In 2011, public transit ridership in Canada reached 1.99 billion trips, rising 4.6 percent on a year-over-year basis and setting a new record, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA).

“This surge represents the largest single year-over-year ridership increase in the last decade, with the addition of well over 86 million new trips,” CUTA officials said in a prepared statement, adding that ridership increased last year in all transit modes.

The factors that helped propel ridership include high employment rates and gas prices, they said.

“We know there is a strong correlation between economic activity and transit ridership," said CUTA Chairman Bob Paddon. "An increase in public transit can be an indicator of an economic upturn. Transit ridership rises because employment is linked to economic growth and Canadians are travelling to work on a daily basis using buses, trains and ferries.”
But to continue providing attractive and quality services, Canadian transit agencies need to continue modernizing infrastructure, which requires “a long-term sustainable and reliable investment,” CUTA officials said

A recent national survey released by the association shows that Canada's transit infrastructure needs $53 billion worth of improvements over the next five years. About three-quarters of that total can be drawn from existing funding streams, but the remaining $13.5 billion will need to come from new or additional sources, CUTA officials said.
“We praise all level of governments for their contributions to public transit over the last 10 years. However, we know that much more needs to be done and sustainable investment is needed to preserve and maintain today's infrastructure needs and to serve an ever-growing number of travellers,” said CUTA President and CEO Michael Roschlau.

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