Ridership on Metro Vancouver’s public transit network saw another uptick during the first three months of the year, according to the latest performance update by TransLink.
The public transit authority says individual boardings increased by 5.6% and start-to-finish trips on transit went up by 5.1%.
All services saw an increase in ridership, except for the West Coast Express likely due to the opening of the Evergreen extension of the Millennium Line, which serves part of the commuter rail’s route through the Tri-Cities.
These are the average weekday boarding growth figures for the first quarter of 2017:
In March, TransLink stated that the Evergreen extension had strong numbers with an average of 30,000 passengers per weekday in January. But it contends it needs more trains to increase service frequencies and capacities any further on the Expo, Millennium, and Canada lines as the existing train fleets are already utilized maximally.
Another order of 28 additional new generation Mark III cars for the Expo and Millennium systems are not expected to arrive until late-2018 while 22 additional cars for the Canada Line will not be ready until 2019.
The latest ridership increases are due to a number of factors including an increase in transit service hours (particularly from the opening of the Evergreen extension), heavy snowfall and rainfall, heightened fuel prices causing people to drive less, population growth, economic growth with increased tourism and retail, and relatively low fares rising below inflation.
This continues a record-breaking ridership growth trend that TransLink saw in 2016.