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Metro Vancouver transit ridership dropped to less than half due to pandemic

Last Updated May 27, 2021 at 11:57 am PDT

A SkyTrain car travels along the Expo Line in East Vancouver towards Main Street-Science World Station. (Kelvin Gawley, NEWS 1130 photo)

TransLink says the Metro Vancouver transit network retained 48 per cent of its ridership in 2020

West Coast Express saw largest drop in ridership in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic in fall 2020

Metro Vancouver retained 48 per cent of ridership in 2020, second to L.A. when it comes to systems in Canada, U.S.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Ridership on Metro Vancouver transit has taken a hit over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and new figures show just how much.

As more people turned to cars or bikes to get around, or even stayed home altogether, TransLink says the network retained 48 per cent of its ridership in 2020.

The West Coast Express saw the largest drop in ridership in the fall of 2020, with passenger levels dropping to just 17 per cent of the pre-pandemic rate.

Commuters continued to ride the bus more than other modes of transit during that same period, with 44 per cent ridership compared to pre-pandemic levels. The Expo and Millennium Lines came in closely behind at 39 per cent, HandyDART followed at 37 per cent, and the Canada Line and SeaBus came in at 32 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

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However, while the figures show just how hard the health crisis has impacted transit systems, TransLink says Metro Vancouver has fared relatively well compared to other networks.

The region is second only to Los Angeles in Canada and the U.S. when it comes to passenger ridership retention through 2020, compared to 2019 levels.

TransLink says emergency funding from the federal and provincial governments has helped the transit authority “maintain near-normal service levels” through the pandemic.