It would be difficult to nail down exactly which initiative contributed most to the 5.2 percent increase in ridership the Edmonton Transit System (ETS) experienced in 2011.
It must be part of the overall increasing trend that’s been ongoing since 2002, when Edmontonians were taking almost 300,000 bus and LRT trips every weekday. In 2011, ridership increased to almost 400,000 weekday trips.
Certainly the South LRT extension to Century Park, completed in 2010, helped LRT ridership more than double between 2002 and 2011.
And bus ridership is up about 5,000 trips a day, thanks to expanding service to newer communities and greater frequency of service on busier bus routes.
The Universal Transit Pass (UPass), for example, was completely available to NAIT students for the first time in 2011, and UPass sales to NAIT more than doubled from 2010. And the ETS@Work program has proved hugely popular with large institutional groups such as Alberta Health Services.
But ETS programs and services are obviously most effective when people know about them. On top of ongoing social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, ETS recently adopted text message servicing and upgraded its online trip planner, and a smart phone application is in the works.
To keep apprised of ETS developments, or to recommend ways to keep improving ETS, check www.takeets.com regularly.