Transit expansion fuels increase in ridership

NANAIMO – Regional transit system expanded services in March and passengers have increased.

Nanaimo’s regional transit system expanded services in March and passengers have increased according to numbers from the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Based on the number of times bus passes are run through electronic fare boxes during the first two quarters (January to July) of 2013, the number of riders increased by five per cent – or 64,112 riders – over the same period in 2012.

Regional district transportation general manager Dennis Trudeau is pleased with the increase.

“Usually when you put a five-per cent increase in service on the ground, which is what we did, it takes a while for us to see the five-per cent increase in ridership and we’re seeing that right away, which is very good,” he said.

There were 210,699 riders in January 2013, 193,359 in February, 210,699 in March (when the expanded service came into effect), 213,648 in April, 211,679 in May, 193,843 in June and 182,823 in July.

Speaking at the Regional District of Nanaimo board meeting on Tuesday, Nanaimo director George Anderson also expressed satisfaction about expanded services.

“I can tell you from the people who I’ve spoken to – I try to use transit as much as I can – who have said they’ve seen a marked difference in transit services over the last year alone,” he said. “I think it’s a step in the right direction and hopefully we’ll continue move forward in that direction.”