Staff Report #3 – Re: London Transit Five Year Ridership Growth Strategy

Staff Report #3

February 27, 2019

To All Commissioners

Re: London Transit Five Year Ridership Growth Strategy


That the Commission:

i) APPROVE IN PRINCIPLE the Five Year Ridership Growth Strategy;

ii) DIRECT administration to include initiatives identified in the Strategy in the 2020-2024 Business Plan and associated annual work programs; and

iii) DIRECT administration to utilize the Growth Strategy as input into the preparation of multi-year Operating and Capital budgets which will include the identification of sources of funding.


The creation of a Ridership Growth Strategy was added to the 2018 Work Program at the direction of the Commission, with the intent being to identify strategies to grow LTC ridership, noting the strategies should consider fare options and discounts. The final Ridership Growth Strategy is set out in Enclosure I.

London Transit contracted with Left Turn Right Turn (LTRT) for the creation of a Ridership Growth Strategy, giving consideration to a number of key inputs, including but not limited to:

  • Current ridership trends
  • The London Plan
  • Smart Moves 2030 – City of London Transportation Master Plan
  • London Rapid Transit Master Plan
  • LTC Route Structure and Service Guideline Review
  • Rapid Transit Integration Framework

In addition to these key inputs, consideration was also given to demographic profiles and best practices from peer transit agencies (York Region Transit, Brampton Transit and Kingston Transit), all of whom have experienced success in growing their ridership at rates above industry average.

The draft Ridership Growth Strategy was presented to the Commission for review and consideration at the November 2018 meeting (see Staff Report #1 dated November 28, 2018). Subsequent to the November presentation a more detailed assessment was undertaken in effort to determine a recommended list of initiatives for implementation. The final strategy as set out in Enclosure I, identifies five key areas under which initiatives can be undertaken to increase transit ridership, each of which is explained further below.

System Capacity and Efficiency – initiatives under this category include those that result in increased transit service and/or improvements and most require both operating and capital investment.

Service Quality and Customer Convenience – initiatives under this category focus on improving the overall customer experience (service quality and convenience) resulting in both the retention of riders as well as attracting new riders.

Fare and Pricing – initiatives under this category related specifically to the fares paid by transit riders. Initiatives would be focussed on ensuring customers feel they are paying a fair price for the service they are receiving, as well as offering a variety of fares that work for differing customer needs (e.g. daily pass, event passes, employer passes etc.)

Marketing and Education – initiatives under this category are most effective if undertaken in conjunction with initiatives to promote a change or new offering.

Urban Design and Growth Management – initiatives under this category are for the most part not within the purview of the LTC and require action on the part of civic administration and/or city council (e.g. parking management, cycling infrastructure). A number of these initiatives are identified and/or addressed in the Transportation Master Plan and London Plan.

Each initiative included in the draft Ridership Growth Strategy was analysed and scored based on a number of factors including:

  • Ability to grow ridership
  • Alignment with strategic objectives (environmental sustainability, economic growth and development, poverty reduction, improving access to transit and accessibility)
  • Ease of implementation
  • Cost of implementation

The detailed analysis resulted in a list of 15 initiatives, some of which include a number of grouped items, for consideration in the short, medium and long term, a summary of which is set out in the table below.

Short Term Recommendations

Initiative(s) Ridership Growth Potential (000’s)
Community Bus Expansion – continue to expand community bus operations in areas where warranted as part of the annual service planning process 36 – 54
Expand Hours of Service – consider service start time of 5 am as part of annual service planning process 62 – 93
Park & Ride Event Partnerships – consider partnerships with event coordinators for park and ride options 85 – 130
Ontario Works Transit Pass – assess the potential to return to previous model of providing transit passes to Ontario Works clients versus the current model of transportation stipend 1,200 – 1,800
Real-Time Information Expansion – expand the availability of real-time information screens to additional locations throughout the City 90 – 135
Employer Pass Program – identify employers on well-serviced corridors for a potential partnership 62 – 249
Get on Board Program – review and revamp the existing Get on Board program to provide more Londoners with information and training on the use of the conventional transit service 40 – 60
Comprehensive Fare Review – undertake a comprehensive review of the current fare structure and identify options for new/alternative pricing and categories TBD

Medium Term Recommendations

Initiative(s) Ridership Growth Potential (000’s)
Express Plus Services – enhance the service levels on routes 90 and 91 including the following:

· Increased frequencies

· Transit signal priority

· Enhanced stop and shelter amenities including real-time information

· Marketing and branding campaign specific to this initiative

120 – 180
New Express Services – implement additional express services as part of the annual service planning process including assessing the option of transit signal priority along express corridors 210 – 318
High School Supplementary Service – implement a “tripper” style service that matches the start and end times for high schools. Also consider the potential of a complimentary or universal pass for high school students providing them with access to public transit. 1,530 – 6,300
Alternative Service Delivery Options – consider the implementation of alternative service delivery options for industrial and difficult to serve areas of the City as part of the annual service planning process. 47 – 70
Downtown Parking Price Management – encourage City of London to undertake efforts to manage downtown parking pricing and availability such that it is higher than a monthly transit pass 200 – 1,200
Transit Signal Priority – work with the City of London to implement Transit Signal Priority along major arterials and intersection to increase the efficiency and reliability of the service. 98 – 147

Long Term Recommendations

Initiative(s) Ridership Growth Potential (000’s)
Bus Rapid Transit – implement the Bus Rapid Transit Plan as presented in the Environmental Project Report approved by Municipal Council in May 2018 including the following:

· Implementation of BRT in dedicated corridors

· Transit signal priority

· Enhanced stop and shelter amenities including real time information

· Marketing and branding campaign specific to this initiative

2,540 – 3,800

The ridership and cost estimates included in the report were completed at a high level for screening purposes. As indicated in the report recommendation, the next step in the process subsequent to approval of the Ridership Growth Plan will be to identify initiatives to be included in the 2020-2024 Business Plan and related work plans, as well as to include the costs for same in the associated multi-year operating and capital budget programs.


I – London Transit Five Year Ridership Growth Strategy

Recommended by:

Katie Burns, Director of Planning

Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations

Mike Gregor, Director of Finance

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager