Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Report: 1700 buses “collecting dust in the country”

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At the Société de transport de Montréal, approximately 250 buses are not required due to lack of funding, according to La Presse. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

Despite the billions of dollars invested by Ottawa, there were fewer buses on the country's roads in 2022 than nine years earlier, according to a report published by Équiterre and Environmental Defense which recommends that the federal government invest 3 billion additional dollars per year to fund public transit services.

Since 2015, Ottawa has provided more than $20 billion in funding to support projects transportation in communities across the country.

Still, there were fewer buses on the country's roads in 2022 than nine years ago, according to the report released Tuesday (New window).

Based on data from the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), the document indicates that the number of buses in Canada in public transit services was 15,530 in 2013 compared to 16,926 in 2022. However, an average of 12,470 vehicles were operating on the roads during peak hours in 2013, while in 2022 the number was 12,389.

This drop in buses on the roads could be explained by an increase in excess replacement buses, that is to say that several vehicles would simply not be used.

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It is estimated that 1,700 buses are gathering dust in garages across the country, we can read in the report, which explains this situation by the lack of financing of transport companies.

The Canadian government has invested heavily to finance the purchase of new buses or new infrastructure, which is excellent news, said Nate Wallace, manager of the clean transportation program at Environmental Defense.

We now have to ensure that all these new buses quickly come out of the garage and transport the population.< /p>A quote from Nate Wallace, Program Manager at Environmental Defense

Public transportation activities are funded by the provinces and municipalities, but the authors of the report suggest that the federal government assume part of the costs to prevent its decline .

Canada's new permanent public transit fund, announced in 2021, provides $3 billion per year starting in 2026-27 to public transport projects in cities.

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Work for the extension of the blue metro line at the corner of Jean-Jalon and Langelier streets, in Montreal. (File photo).

But it is not expected that cities will use this fund for operations, added Équiterre sustainable mobility analyst Anne-Catherine Pilon. His organization is therefore asking that the federal government double the stake and extend an additional 3 billion to help cities finance public transport operations.

With the upcoming creation of the Permanent Public Transit Fund, Canada has an unprecedented opportunity to catch up with its counterparts around the world on public transit performance.

A quote from Excerpt from the report

The Équiterre and Environmental Defense report proposes a plan based on four key measures: providing funding for public transport operations, encouraging residential density near public transport, encouraging purchasing electric buses and encourage cities to set up lanes reserved for buses.

According to the authors of the report modeled by the firm Dunsky + Climate Advisors, by combining these four measures, Canada could double national public transit ridership and reduce the kilometers traveled by car by 35% by 2035.

This plan would require additional investments of $35 billion over 12 years.

Which represents roughly the equivalent of the investments of government in the Trans Mountain pipeline. The difference is that our plan allows people – not oil – to move more quickly and at lower cost, said analyst Anne-Catherine Pilon.

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Trans Mountain is the only pipeline transporting oil from Alberta to the West Coast. (Archive photo)

For comparison, this expense could be entirely financed by increasing the general federal tax rate applicable to profits by a single percentage point companies: this sum would represent approximately 0.5% of total federal spending planned for 2024, we can read in the report.

There would be average 7% fewer transit services (calculated in vehicle kilometers traveled) in Canada today than eight years ago, according to the report released Tuesday.

However, this is a national average and in some provinces, services would have increased.

This would be the case in Quebec, where the number of kilometers traveled per vehicle has increased by 9% since 2016, according to analyst Anne-Catherine Pilon.

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