Public transit systems need federal support
The Canadian Urban Transit Association is urging the federal government to support public transit during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Lower ridership and higher cleaning costs are adding up fast,” said Marco D’Angelo, CUTA’s CEO. “To keep the buses and trains running and maintain strong systems, transit needs to be included in federal relief.”
Already, some transit agencies are experiencing up to 75 per cent fewer riders and all are experiencing higher costs to disinfect vehicles and keep operators safe. As more people work from home and schools remain closed, fare box revenue is expected to fall further.
“Keeping transit running, keeping passengers and operators safe, and maintaining strong systems for when the outbreak subsides requires support now,” said D’Angelo. “The federal government has a role and CUTA hopes it will step up.”
Public transit operators are in constant discussions, sharing their experiences and best practices. An emerging issue in these talks is sourcing supplies. About two-thirds of systems are experiencing challenges sourcing cleaning supplies and almost half say finding protective equipment is emerging as another issue.
“Even with lower ridership, transit is a vital public service,” said D’Angelo. “It’s essential to Canadians during this crisis and essential to climate action when the crisis subsides. Ottawa has a role in keeping systems strong.”
Before the coronavirus outbreak, Canadians took about 6 million trips a day on public transit.
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