Bus declines are unsurprising
RE: HSR ridership declines as service improves (Feb. 1)
As a frequent transit taker, the drop in ridership reported in Andrew Dreschel’s article doesn’t surprise me. There are some commuters who have no choice except to stick it out. But others get fed up and eventually buy a car, find a car pool, or move to a more transit friendly municipality.
Taking the bus for most people is a default option, but no one’s first choice. Once riders suffer problems and manage to find new ways to get from A to B, they no longer care about improvements, and won’t change their new routines. This is why we cannot conflate the idea that bus ridership will reflect that of LRT. People are more inclined to try new transit than be swayed by any HSR upgrades. Smooth timely travel beats rickety buses speeding down bumpy roads any day.
We also cannot expect to offer every rural resident increased bus service, as urban sprawl is clearly costing more than it’s worth. Therefore, approaching the bus budget cautiously, in light of all this, is probably best.
Despite an increase in population and tough economic times, ridership trends will likely continue to see consistent drops. But there is no mystery here. People still have plenty of places to go — they’ve just made a point of finding another way to get there. Rob Hardy, Stoney Creek