Calgary's transit system is the 2nd best in Canada: report

Aug 24 2017, 5:20 am

Canada’s second best public transit system is operated by Calgary Transit, according to the third annual report that grades the quality and performance of the country’s major transit networks.

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Greater Calgary (Calgary plus Airdrie) received an A+ grade in this year’s report card, placing the region at a tie with Metro Vancouver which also received the same grade. This represents an improvement for Greater Calgary over last year’s grade of B.

In contrast, the transit services that serve Greater Montreal earned an A+++ grade and topped the list while the National Capital Region – Ottawa and Gatineau – and Greater Toronto and Hamilton area received C grades, which means the performance of the services in both regions are lower than expected when compared to other regions in this report.

The 2017 Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions, created by Nathan Pachal, a transit commentator and Langley City Councillor, compiled and evaluated data from 23 transit authorities in six major urban regions across the country.

A variety of factors are used to review the transit services, including revenue kms per service hour, farebox recovery, operating cost per service hour, operating cost per passenger trip, passenger trips per capita, passenger trips per service hour, and passenger trip intensity.

Calgary improved in areas of Operating Cost Per Service Hour and Passenger Trip Intensity both improving from a B to A grade.

“Operating costs per service hour increased at a slower rate than other major regions, moving Calgary to an “A” grade in the metric,” reads the report. “Despite the reduction in service hours, the region’s passenger trip intensity score moved from a “B” to an “A” making this region on par with Metro Vancouver which also received an “A+” grade.”

Calgary is currently the region with the lowest operating cost per service hour at $152.89, in contrast to Metro Vancouver topping the list at $186.29, followed by Greater Toronto and Hamilton and Greater Montreal’s operating cost service hours of $178.61 and $180.2, respectively.

Across the board for all regions, Pachal says transit service levels have not kept up with growing demand from population growth, and there is only so much transit service providers can do to optimize services before service deteriorates.

“Overall, Canadian regions are doing more with less when it comes to delivering transit services. Unfortunately, the amount of transit service provided in our major regions is not keeping pace with population growth,” reads the report.

“This is reflected in the continued decline in service hours per capita nationwide. Due to their limited financial resources, Canadian transit agencies have reviewed how and where transit service is delivered to become more efficient. Passenger trip intensity, a measure of efficiency, has increased nationally over the last three years as a result.”

But he notes that the research in this latest report card is based on 2015 data, and with the federal government’s recent major investments in public transit, which is being matched by provinces, there should be an improvement in transit service over the coming years.

Canada’s best public transit systems 2017

1. Greater Montreal (A+++)

2.= Greater Calgary (A+)

2.= Metro Vancouver (A+)

3. Greater Edmonton (B)

4.= Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (C)

4.= National Capital Region in Ottawa and Gatineau (C)

2017 Transit Report Card Indicators

Click on the table for an enlarged version. (2017 Transit Report Card / Nathan Pachal)

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