December 3, 2017 9:36 am

Kingston Transit expansion pays off big as ridership skyrockets

Kingston Transit is boasting a unique stat uncovered from latest census numbers. 33 percent more riders are using the service to commute to work.

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It started five years ago with the introduction of express routes, better fare options and an expansion of its employee pass programs.

Kingston Transit made the changes in order to boost its ridership base. The drive to improve passenger convenience and travel times hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Adding more routes and making express buses and things a lot faster,” Kingston Transit rider Levi Munoz said. “I hope they go up even more.”

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Kingston’s multimillion-dollar expansion of bus service seems to have paid off in spades. New Census figures show bus ridership numbers among those commuting to work has increased more than any other city across the country.

From 2011 to 2016, the number of local commuters using transit was up by 33 per cent.

“We’re going to keep growing,” Kingston Transit general manager, Jeremy Dacosta, said. “We expect this year we’ll hit more than six-million passenger trips. We expect that will continue to increase in 2018.”

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But, Kingston’s nod as the country’s fastest-growing public transit service has not been without growing pains. The city seems to be constantly posting for new bus drivers to keep up with the demand.

“Especially during peak commuting times where the buses are very full,” Dacosta admitted. “But it’s a great challenge to have, and one we need to continue to address.”

Dacosta adds that with the introduction of a new express route, along the Montreal Street corridor coming in 2018, he hopes the number of transit riders commuting to work will increase even more by the time the next census numbers are released.

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