Background on Transit Service on Statutory Holidays

Service on statutory holidays was introduced in July 2007.

Ridership numbers in 2009 were the following.  These numbers do not represent individual people but rather individual trips: 

New Years Day:            3,100
Family Day:                   3,200
Good Friday:                 5,000
Victoria Day:                2,200
Canada Day:                  3,500
John Galt Day:              4,100
Thanksgiving:               2,200
Boxing Day:                  3,100

Guelph Transit ridership has a significant level of seasonality due to the University of Guelph. Ridership on an average weekday in the summer is in the range of 15,000 while during the rest of the year average weekday ridership is approximately 30,000.

Staff initially proposed eliminating service on statutory holidays for 2009 because of low ridership. Council did not approve this service adjustment.

In 2010, the service reduction was back on the table along with other expenditure reductions because of the economic recession.  This time the service reduction was approved.

The Transit Growth Strategy does recommend re-instating service for 5 selected statutory holidays (more on this in a future post)

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4 Comments on “Background on Transit Service on Statutory Holidays”

  1. Kim Says:

    For comparison, what were ridership numbers on holidays in 2007 and 2008? And what’s the average number of riders on Sundays?

    When stacked against weekdays, holiday ridership does seem low, however the hours and frequency of service was less, and less routes were operating. Buses operated on a Sunday schedule with trips leaving the Square 9:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. only, as opposed to 5:40 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. on weekdays. And several routes only operate Monday to Friday (Perimeter, highschool specials and University Express routes).

    Also, I’m reposting a question i asked under the “10 cents or 25 cents” thread because it seems more appropriate here, and it remains unanswered: “Why won’t you consider offering limited service on holidays instead of cutting it out altogether, like every hour perhaps? Most of the routes are an hour long anyway (i.e. Route 4 becomes Route 8, Route 3 becomes Route 10 etc.) so it seems do-able. I’m curious as to whether that was ever put forward by Guelph Transit as a possible option.”

  2. kfarbridge Says:

    Sorry for missing this quesiton Kim. The Transit Growth Strategy recommendations will bring greater flexibility to the system to do precisely what you are suggesting with respect to service on holidays. This new flexibility will allow for a more effective response to ridership demands throughout the whole system.

  3. ksulliva Says:

    Hi Kim,
    Here is some more information from Transit staff:

    We have looked at options for providing service on holidays, including longer frequency. It is our experience and it has been shown in travel surveys from numerous other transit properties that service frequency is the critical element in determining whether an individual chooses to use transit. 60 minute service frequency is an extremely long period of time between trips and provides a very poor level of service. People have to time their travel very carefully and will be extremely unhappy if they just miss a trip. Trying to communicate the schedule at each stop for 60 minute service would also be a difficult and expensive activity. As such we do not believe that 60 minute service is a viable option for holiday service.

    Also – ridership statistics are not readily available for statutory holidays in 2007 and 2008. The 2009 stats are the best/ most relevant measure of usage on holidays.

    I hope this helps.

    Kate Sullivan
    Mayor’s Office

  4. Kim Says:

    Thanks, Kate. There’s no denying that 60 minute service frequency is a poor level of service, but no service is even poorer.

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