Public transit financial crisis deserves federal support
Public transit systems are facing an imminent financial crisis as ridership and revenue plummet and need federal support.
Transit is part of a pandemic relief package the Federation of Canadian Municipalities submitted to the federal government. The FCM is asking for $400 million a month to compensate for lost transit revenue. The Canadian Urban Transit Association welcomes and supports this request as one way to help transit systems in immediate need of emergency relief.
This week, Vancouver’s transit system announced large layoffs and route reductions. Toronto’s has not ruled out similar measures. Systems nationwide will soon be in the same position.
“Up to a million people a day rely on public transit for essential trips,” said Marco D’Angelo, CUTA’s CEO. “Many of these are the unsung heroes of this pandemic. They keep hospitals and buildings clean. They work in grocery stores. They deserve better than longer waits to get home to loved ones after doing essential work on which we all depend.”
Ridership is down in most systems between 85 and 90 per cent. In addition, rear-door boarding to keep bus drivers safe means forgoing fare collection entirely.
Other countries have included public transit in pandemic relief packages.
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