Staff Report #9 – Update – New Year’s Eve Service (2022)

Staff Report #9

January 25, 2023

To All Commissioners

Re: Update – New Year’s Eve Service (2022)


That the report be NOTED and FILED.


New Year’s Eve Service – December 31, 2022

The “Ride the Bus on Us” program was first introduced in 1985 making 2022 the 37th consecutive year the service has been provided. The program provides complimentary service for riders on both conventional and specialized transit services on New Year’s Eve from 8pm until the end of service. While traditional New Year’s Eve activities have not been occurring for the past couple of years during the Pandemic, London Transit continued to provide free transit on New Year’s Eve after 8pm to ensure Londoners had a safe way to travel home.

The program is very well received by the community. Further, given the length of time the program has been in place, there is an expectation that London Transit will continue to provide the free service as the community has grown to rely on the service seeing it as an integral part of providing Londoners with a safe trip and an alternative to drinking and driving.

Table I provides a comparison of conventional transit ridership for 2018 through 2022. As was expected due to the declaration of a full lockdown in 2020, ridership on New Year’s Eve declined significantly over pre-pandemic levels. 2021 saw a slight increase, however lockdown restrictions were still in place at that time. 2022 was the first year since the start of the pandemic without any restrictions in place and as a result, there was a 13 percent increase in ridership over the 2019 pre-pandemic levels, noting 2019 ridership was the highest New Year’s Eve ridership since 2016.

Table I

Ridership Summary – Conventional Transit Service

Year 8pm to Midnight Post-Midnight Total % Change
2018 4,030 1,104 5,134 -22.8%
2019 6,869 1,388 8,257 60.8%
2020 1,504 101 1,605 -80.6%
2021 3,014 297 3,311 106.3%
2022 7,795 1,563 9,358 182.6%

As with conventional transit service, specialized transit service saw a significant decline in ridership in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the lockdown measures in place at the time. While 2022 saw a decrease in ridership over 2019 (13%), ridership has rebounded to close to pre-pandemic levels. A summary comparison of specialized services from 2018 to 2022 is set out in Table II.

Table II

Ridership Summary – Specialized Transit Service

Year 8pm to Midnight Post-Midnight Total % Change
2018 57 12 69 16.7%
2019 46 13 59 -14.5%
2020 11 1 12 -79.7%
2021 27 0 27 125.0%
2022 42 9 51 88.9%

The estimated cost of the free evening for 2022 is $14,711; summary particulars are set out in Table III. The estimated cost is funded within the approved 2022 operating budget.

Table III

Summary of Costs – New Year’s Eve Service

Description Amount
Conventional Service
Loss of Revenue – 8pm to 12am $10,757
Loss of Revenue- 12am to 1am* $ 2,119
Incremental service delivery cost – post 12am $ 1,300
Specialized Service
Loss of Revenue – 8pm to 12am $ 110
Incremental service delivery cost – post 12am $ 425
Total Cost $14,711

*Loss of revenue on the nine routes that normally operate until 1 am

Schedule information was available to the public by way of special New Year’s Eve timetables (online only), and postings on London Transit’s website and social media. Information regarding the free service was also available on the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and on on-board posters.

New Year’s Eve service for 2022 was relatively uneventful in terms of operational issues on a night where alcohol consumption is often part of the festivities. This is consistent with the trend over the past number of years where there has been a significant decrease in the number of incidents on-board the buses during New Year’s Eve service. As set out in Table IV below, in 2022 there were two on board bio-hazard incidents resulting in change-offs, with no other incidents arising on the service during the free travel period.

Table IV

Summary of On-Board Passenger Issues

Issue 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Workplace Violence 0 0 0 0 0
Biohazards1 0 0 0 0 2
Passenger Problem (behavior) 0 3 1 0 0
Vandalism 0 0 0 0 0
Medical Emergency2 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 3 1 0 2
  1. Bodily fluids on bus requiring bus change-off
  2. Situations where EMS are dispatched to bus

Recommended by:

Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager