The prospect of longer waits and more crowded buses next year doesn’t appear to be discouraging riders from flocking to the TTC right now.
On September 15, 2011 the TTC saw a record 1.71 million rides on a single day.
It was the fifth time this year that the TTC exceeded the Oct. 27, 2010, record of 1.68 million rides.
Transit officials don’t know what, if anything, attracted so many people to the system on those record days. Ridership typically goes up on snowy days when people leave their cars at home, but obviously that wasn’t the case last month, said TTC spokesman Brad Ross.
“We would argue that the level of service we have available in a city this size continues to drive people to transit,” he said.
It expects to exceed its projected 487 million rides during this calendar year, anticipating an additional 15 million rides in 2012, to about 503 million.
But the city’s financial stress has the TTC planning a retreat to pre-2008 loading standards in the new year, meaning buses will be more crowded than they already are, and the wait for a bus will probably be longer.
Ross stressed, however, that no routes are being cut and hours of service will remain the same under the 2012 operating budget approved by the Toronto Transit Commission last month.
“Will there be more crowding? Yes. Will there be longer wait times? Sure,” he said. But other transit properties around the world, he said, would envy the TTC’s success in attracting riders.