Transit systems call on Kenney to provide support like Ontario

February 17, 2022 3:51 pm. Published by

Toronto—The Canadian Urban Transit Association today called on Premier Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow Ontario’s lead and deliver extended support to keep transit running.

Alberta transit systems are forecasting significant shortfalls as Covid depresses ridership. Calgary Transit is forecasting a shortfall of up to $89 million in 2022. Edmonton Transit Service is facing a $81 million shortfall over the next two years. Without extended support from the province and federal government, service cuts would likely be inevitable.

“Ontario is doing the right thing in keeping transit running. It’s time for Premier Kenney and Prime Minister to support Alberta transit systems by extending urgently needed support,” said Marco D’Angelo, president of CUTA. “Every day, 300,000 Albertans rely on public transit to get to work, school, and live daily life. They shouldn’t be made to wait for hours or walk for miles if service is cut.”

The Toronto Star is reporting the Ontario government will provide $300 million in additional support to maintain transit service levels. Before Covid, more than half the costs of running transit came from the farebox but ridership is down by about half. For every 10% drop in ridership, transit systems lose $470 million nationwide.

In 2020, federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement provided $4.6 billion to keep transit running—including $140 million in Alberta—but these funds are expiring. Cities and transit systems have been asking Ottawa and the provinces to extend support, but only Ontario’s Ford government seems prepared to act.

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Alex Krause

Communications & Public Affairs Specialist