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TransLink ridership back to more than 50% of pre-COVID levels with back-to-school boost

CEO says he expects ridership to increase more as people return to pre-pandemic habits

Ridership along TransLink routes is back to over 50 per cent of normal, the agency said during a board meeting Thursday (Sept. 23).

New CEO Kevin Quinn said that during the first week of back-to-school earlier this month, Translink saw its highest jump in ridership since the beginning of the pandemic.

“For the four days following Labour Day (Sept. 7–10), they were the busiest days our system has seen in 18 months,” Quinn said.

“All combined, there were over 3.4 million boardings during those four days, which is a 16 per cent increase in ridership over the previous week.”

On average, Quinn said TransLink saw 850,000 boardings a day, 120,000 more than the week prior, which he attributed to post-secondary students largely returning to on-campus learning. Routes like the 49 Metrotown Station/Dunbar Loop, which serves the University of B.C., has risen from 37 per cent last fall to 71 per cent now.

Boardings, according to TransLink are up to 54.5 per cent of pre-COVID levels and journeys are up to 53.7 per cent. However, some ridership levels for buses that go to industrial locations with frontline workers have all but fully recovered.

TransLink data show that the 531 White Rock Centre/Willowbrook and 640 Ladner Exchange/Scott Rd Station routes have recovered to 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

Overall, ridership is rising the quickest where people are returning to pre-pandemic returns, he added, saying the agency expects to see more employees return to transit as downtown offices open back up for in-person work.


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