Calgary Transit is on the road to recovery
Calgary Transit is seeing a promising start to 2023, with better-than-expected increases in ridership. As of January, bus boardings were at close to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, and CTrain boardings were near 100 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. These numbers are expected to continue to rise as more and more Calgarians return to working in corporate offices and as Calgary continues to attract new people and business.
In 2022, Calgary Transit had predicted that ridership wouldn’t return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of 2023. However, January 2023 numbers suggest that full recovery is expected to take place much sooner.
“Similar to increases seen in Vancouver and Edmonton, there has been a great improvement in our ridership numbers since the beginning of the year,” says Sharon Fleming, Director of Calgary Transit. “As we move into spring, even more demand is expected, and we’re working to grow our service to keep up with those projections.”
Great transit service is the backbone of all major cities. There is great opportunity to invest in future generations that will call Calgary home and that will rely on great transit service to get around the city. Focus will remain on what Calgary can and will become in the future, building this city sustainably, and supporting current residents and future generations:
- Calgary Transit continues to invest in ensuring customers feel safe while riding transit. With an increase of 25 per cent more Transit Officers since September 2022, Calgary Transit also continues to partner with the Calgary Police Service and City of Calgary Corporate Security to increase the number of station patrols and help identify safety issues on the system before they become significant incidents.
- Calgary Transit understands the importance of planning ahead to ensure our service evolves to meets the needs of customers. The 2023 RouteAhead update will be complete by Q2 and it proposes a significant shift in the way transit is planned to focus on frequency. This shift, along with several important projects like Green Line, will create more predictable, reliable and frequent service for Calgarians, further improving service and encouraging ridership growth.
- Calgary Transit will continue to improve service levels throughout the year. Active hiring of Transit Operators is underway to help ensure service is reliable and on-time for customers. We are currently hiring 400 bus operators and we are planning to recruit an additional 400 bus operators later this year.
- Calgary Transit is taking opportunities to encourage off-peak ridership, like introducing free fare for youth 12 and under and a weekend group day pass. This provides incentive for more recreational travel, including to downtown as a place where people gather to celebrate and engage with arts, culture, media and entertainment.
- Work on the Green Line is progressing. Utility relocations and early works construction are underway, the new fleet of low-floor vehicles have been purchased and work will soon begin on design and to determine cost, risks project schedule. When complete the Green Line LRT will significantly improve Calgary Transit’s ability to provide connections for Calgarians throughout the city, far beyond just commuting to and from downtown.
“Calgary Transit is focused on the future and on building our service to grow along with our city,” says Chris Jordan, manager of Transit Service Design. “This aligns with Council’s strategic direction of building a world class transit system to serve the people of Calgary.”
The future looks bright for Calgary Transit through 2023 and beyond. With support for sustainable transportation options from all levels of government, RouteAhead’s guidance toward more frequent and reliable service, and the progress and support for Green Line from both public and internal parties, Calgary Transit is moving in the right direction.