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TTC ridership setting new records, despite all the griping from riders (and newspaper columnists)

Transit in Toronto (Image: Paul Sherwood from the Flickr pool)

Bouncing off of the latest Statistics Canada data, Matt Gurney writes in the National Post that the long travel times associated with Toronto transit are the reason people are “staying off mass transit.” There are a number of things we find, let’s say, “funny” in Gurney’s column, and that’s one of them. It’s pretty clear that Torontonians are actually not staying off mass transit—in fact, quite the opposite is true.

From the Toronto Sun:

The TTC is well on its way to achieving a predicted 500 million annual ridership next year, a spokesman said.

Ridership is up, despite last year’s 25¢ fare hike and service cuts since May 8 on 41 low-use bus routes, Brad Ross said in an interview…

“All we can say is ridership on the TTC continues to grow,” Ross said, adding the StatsCan report “bundled” regional and city transit ridership figures.

Some of this is just population growth, but the information that’s available paints a pretty clear picture: Toronto has one of the highest rates of transit use in the country. Also, we expect those numbers have likely gone up since the last census, especially considering that the price of gas has doubled since 2006. Sure, the fare hikes for the TTC have been annoying, but they haven’t doubled the cost of getting to work.

Obviously, the TTC isn’t immune to criticism. For one, the fact that it leaves many commuters (especially in the northern reaches of the city) reliant on cramped buses is a huge problem. But despite its real issues, people aren’t abandoning transit in Toronto—far from it. Of course, writing that wouldn’t be news.

TTC ridership is up, up, up! [Toronto Sun]
Matt Gurney: Transit, what a waste of time [National Post]