Transit success story - Kingston
Another city that seems to be figuring out transit is Kingston, Ontario … transit ridership increased 72% between 2011 and 2017 to a record 6.1 million passenger trips!
Considering that many city politicians in Canada despair at the challenge of providing high quality transit, Kingston’s success has generated significant attention.
A few years ago, Kingston announced a goal to surpass 6 million passenger trips by 2021. They hit that mark in 2017 — four years ahead of schedule. (In 2013, passengers took 3.4 million trips on Kingston Transit; in 2017, they took 6.2 million.)
Did the reforms cost them a lot of money?
Well no, Kingston Transit’s operating budget increased modestly, from $10.2 million in 2013 to $15.7 million for 2017.
This is an important bit of data – in our advocacy work, we’ve often been told that the City simply can’t afford to spend more money on transit. While I’m willing to fight that battle (because I think transit is worth spending money on), I’d also argue that many of Ottawa’s problems stem from poor decision-making, not necessarily lack of revenue.
Thus, a re-thinking of priorities and a review of decision-making at OC Transpo could demonstrate huge improvements.
Some more data from Kingston: The number of people getting to work by bus in Kingston increased by more than 33 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
Kingston is a model for others to consider