Canadian Transit Ridership Breaks Record Again in 2008



    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - Public transit ridership statistics for 2008
showed an increase of 3.5% nationally for another all-time record year with
1.82-billion trips, as reported today by the Canadian Urban Transit
Association (CUTA). This increase is a 16 percent increase over the five-year
period since 2003.
    "For six consecutive years, Canadian transit systems continue to out do
the previous year's record," says CUTA Chair Charles Stolte. "The growth is an
increase of 62 million trips, which is more than the entire ridership at a
transit system the size of Québec City or Edmonton Transit."
    "What is most significant about the new figures is that - while ridership
grew by 2.6% nationally in the first half of 2008 - it grew by 4.5% in the
second half, compared to the same period a year earlier," says CUTA President
& CEO Michael Roschlau. That was precisely the time when the economy started
to fall into recession and unemployment was going up, while gas prices had
fallen back down from the spike in the summer of 2008. Historically, transit
ridership has been negatively correlated with these trends.
    "New infrastructure investments in transit, planned and announced, will
help continue the trends we see today," adds CUTA Chair Charles Stolte. "This
new service will attract new riders, and provide more travel options for
existing customers."
    "Keeping and attracting even more new riders to continue this trend is
dependent on long-term, predictable investment to increase service," adds
Roschlau. "Sustainable growth needs to be matched with predictable and
sustainable funding."
    CUTA's most recent national infrastructure survey reported a $40.1
billion need for public transit capital investment for the period 2008-2012.
CUTA also continues to advocate for the implementation of a National Transit
Strategy that includes dedicated long term funding to support transit needs in
communities of all sizes across Canada.
    "CUTA will continue to work toward the establishment of a National
Transit Strategy to further meet the demands of Canadians," closes Stolte.
"With substantial ridership growth in communities of all sizes, the need for
sustainable long term funding, planning and support has never been greater."

    CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems,
suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related
organizations in Canada.
    For association information, visit www.cutaactu.ca





For further information:

For further information: Maureen Shuell, Director of Communications,
(416) 365-9800 ext. 105

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