Kingston ... improving transit

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!

Kingston Transit – A path to success for small and mid-sized cities

Considering that many city politicians in Canada despair at the challenge of providing high quality transit, Kingston’s success has generated significant attention. 

Why Canadian cities are asking Kingston for public-transit advice 

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


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