February 23, 2004

York Region Transit ridership increases 10 per cent for third straight year


NEWMARKET Despite a year hampered by a regional emergency relating to SARS and an unprecedented North American blackout, York Region Transit (YRT) carried over 10.4 million passengers in 2003, an increase of more than 1.8 million over 2002.  This marks the third consecutive year that YRT has met or exceeded 10 per cent growth since its amalgamation in 2001.


"It's wonderful to see that people are increasingly using transit as a means of travel in York Region," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  "This rate of growth clearly shows that we continue to move in the right direction with our transit plans."


While the effects of SARS were felt on ridership numbers early in the year, YRT managed to post gains in every month compared to 2002, marking 10 per cent gains in both its conventional service and Mobility Plus specialized service. 


In September 2003, YRT also assumed operation of GO Transit's Yonge and Bayview routes. Factoring in these extra passengers, YRT numbers actually increased by a staggering 22 per cent.


"Our transit growth is an encouraging trend in our fight against traffic congestion," said Markham Regional Councillor Jim Jones, Chair of York Region's Transit Committee.  "Clearly residents are seeing value in York Region Transit as an efficient mode of regional and inter-regional transportation."


To accommodate growth, YRT will be adding 35 new conventional buses and five new specialized buses to its fleet in 2004.  Nine of these buses will replace older models currently in operation, while the remaining 26 vehicles will be used to expand service.


YRT continues to lead the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in ridership growth, in large measure from heavy investment in transit infrastructure approved by York Regional Council.


For a breakdown of the 2003 YRT ridership numbers, please see the attached Fact Sheet.


For schedules, fares or other information about York Region Transit, please visit www.yorkregiontransit.com


For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca




Contact:            Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region

- (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1232

- Email: michael.kemp@region.york.on.ca

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