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More people continue to choose Transit

For immediate release: January 30, 2020 - 4:00pm
TC20-998

Annual ridership has continued to grow year over year resulting in a 2.5% increase in conventional ridership and 2.2% increase in Access Transit ridership.   

“I am very happy with this result as it shows that we continue to attract more riders to our system and those who are already using transit are using it more often. I attribute the increase to more reliable and frequent routing along our transit corridors,” says Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit.

With a large student base of riders, Saskatoon Transit saw an increase of 2.4% in the number of U of S students taking advantage of their UPass.

“This shows more people, including students at the U of S, are recognizing transit as a viable alternative to driving,” says McDonald.

Contributing Factors:

Increased Frequency

Over the past three years, Saskatoon Transit has implemented three high frequency transit corridors (8th Street, 22nd Street and Attridge Drive/Preston Avenue/ College Drive). These routes offer 10 minute frequency in both directions throughout the day, decreasing the amount of time riders wait for the next bus, accommodating the volume of riders, and increasing the options they have for travel.

Saskatoon Transit has also implemented high frequency routes that run on weekday mornings to help with the volume of riders during that time. These high frequency routes run from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Conventional Transit travels 8 million kilometers per year and of that 1.5 million kilometers are high frequency corridors and routes.

Real-time Mobile App Adoption

Saskatoon Transit saw more riders adopting real-time transit apps to plan their trips. Approximately 6,000 users per day use the mobile app, transit. Of those who use this mobile app, 14,000 users receive push notification service alerts for their favourite routes. These numbers do not reflect those who use Google Maps Transit or any other mobile trip planning app.

Infrastructure Improvements

Saskatoon Transit purchased 7 new conventional buses in 2019 allowing for the last of the high floor buses to be retired. This was a big milestone, marking a 100% accessible bus fleet. Saskatoon Transit also purchased 11 new buses for Access Transit and made upgrades to 23 bus stops and 2 transit terminals (Confederation and Market Mall) in 2019.

A bus stop audit of nearly 1,500 bus stops was 92% complete in 2019. This audit will be completed and reviewed to ensure bus stops are located appropriately around the city, and to identify what stops need to be prioritized for accessibility and infrastructure improvements in 2020.

Saskatoon Transit experienced an increase in ridership of around two per cent in 2017 (8,678,825), 8.1% in 2018 (9,385,409), and 2.5% in 2019 (9,619,824). Although the increase is not as significant as it was in 2018, McDonald says this increase is pretty remarkable as we saw a decline last year in many of the top 50 transit markets in North America.

“The key to our success is overall improved service, a better customer experience and technology that supports both,” says McDonald. “In order to keep increasing our ridership numbers, we must continue to put our customer first.”

"The changes and improvements we’ve made will support a successful Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Saskatoon,” says McDonald. “We’re working hard to deliver the kind of service residents expect from an urban, forward-thinking city.”

As passenger demand grows, Saskatoon Transit will continue to provide safe, efficient and economical transportation to citizens and visitors to Saskatoon. We look forward to seeing you on board!