82% want governments to keep transit running

Published February 7, 2021.

A new poll released today finds overwhelming support for governments to keep transit running safely and conveniently during the pandemic. It can be accessed here.

The poll, commissioned by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), shows 82% of Canadians want federal funding to continue. Public transit received $4.6 billion in the Covid relief package the federal government and provinces finalized in the summer, but funding in most provinces expires at the end of March.

“Millions of Canadians take public transit every day,” said Marco D’Angelo, president of CUTA. “Many of them depend on it to get to work, and there’s widespread agreement that transit is essential to cities. We appreciate the action Ottawa and the provinces have taken. But public transit needs ongoing support to keep running safely and conveniently.”

Nationally, the poll found widespread support for public transit:

  • 92% think transit is important to keeping cities functioning well
  • 90% think good public transit is important to economic productivity
  • 88% think keeping transit running now will make it available when the pandemic ends

One of the best reasons—with 73% agreement—to keeping transit running is transporting workers who depend on it to their jobs. Seventy per cent said they were concerned about the impact of service reductions on lower-income Canadians.

Public transit needs ongoing operating support because Covid turned its economics on their head. Before the pandemic, about 52% of transit’s operating costs were covered by the farebox. But as ridership plummeted by about 85% in the spring, revenue went into a freefall. Ridership has grown since, but is still only about 39% of pre-Covid levels, although service is about 85% in order to provide safe and convenient service to the 2.5 million people who take it every day.

The poll, conducted by Pollara, was in the field from December 11-14, with a sample size of 2,579 people. A sample of this size carries a margin of error of +/- 1.9%, 19 times out of 20, with higher margins of error in regional samples.

For further information:

McCartney Lee

Coordinator, Communications and Public Relations

[email protected]

(416) 365-9800 ext. 127