Transit services in Airdrie see 50% increase in ridership –

With the work from home order lifted in early March, Airdrie Transit has seen an influx of people using its services as workers resume their daily commute.

Chris MacIsaac, transit team leader for the City of Airdrie, says the difference in ridership from February to March is noticeable.

“Our ridership for our downtown service, in particular, is more than 50% higher in March than it was in February. We would contribute most of this ridership gain to the lifting of public health restrictions in place since September, and in particular the lifting of work-from-home mandates that the province had.

An increase in transit ridership isn’t the only increase MacIsaac says he’s seeing. MacIsaac says they know there is pent-up demand in the community for additional services in downtown Airdrie and are trying to determine when the best times are to add to their schedule to accommodate those customers.

“There is a lot of latent demand in the community looking to use transit service to downtown, and based on our schedules today, it may not be as convenient as ‘they would like it or it doesn’t fit their working hours.”

MacIsaac says that in the past, even with cheaper gas prices, that wasn’t really a reason people used public transit.

“Generally, it is the other costs that consumers have to pay directly out of pocket that would encourage them to use public transit. The cost of parking would be a more important factor in a decision on “do I drive myself or do I take public transport” compared to the cost of fuel, because it is a variable cost. »

According to McIsaac, people who take the bus again now, after the sanitary measures, on a daily basis, it is no longer the same thing as before.

“Based on our ridership, what we’re starting to see is probably more of a hybrid model where our transit customers were maybe in the office four or five days a week, but are now only in the office three to four days. . It’s just interesting that our Mondays and Fridays, we don’t experience the same level of demand for services that we do on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

With the higher cost of gas, MacIsaac says they’re price-conscious, but since they’re not operating at the hours of service they were after the pandemic, that makes up for the prices they’re seeing at the pump.

“I would say that any changes that will occur in the coming weeks and months will be related to the increase in our service. So additional trips downtown, morning and afternoon, depending on the level of community demand.

Send your news tips, story ideas, photos and videos to [email protected]

Melvin Z. Madore