Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 10:45 AM

Metrobus Ridership Up During Free Ride Period

metrobus on city street

On January 24, 2020, the City of St. John’s announced a free ride period for Metrobus and GoBus following the State of Emergency. During the free ride period, which concluded on February 7, ridership for Metrobus was up 38%* over average ridership during the same period in 2019.

“We are pleased to see that individuals took advantage of the free ride period and used public transit following the State of Emergency, which we hope also reflects a reduction of vehicles and pedestrians on our roads as the clean-up continued,” explained Councillor Ian Froude, Council lead for Public Works and Chair of the St. John’s Transportation Commission.

From Saturday, January 25 to Friday, February 7, there were 172,560* Metrobus rides, compared with an average of 125,012 for the same time period in 2019.

During the free ride period, Metrobus provided:

  • 14,650 rides during weekdays, up 38.3% from 2019 average ridership
  • 8,972 rides on Saturdays, up 44.7% from 2019 average ridership
  • 4,056 rides on Sundays, up 21% from 2019 average ridership 

“We certainly hope that availing of Metrobus was a positive experience for any new riders as we would like to see this trend continue throughout the winter and all of 2020,” said Councillor Froude. “Public transit is an economical, environmentally sustainable and easy way to get around St. John’s and we are pleased that people took advantage of the opportunity to ride for free.”

In total, the two-week free ride program cost the City of St. John’s an additional $250,000.

As part of the recent Public Transit Review, future improvements to transit systems include:

  • Free transit for children under the age of twelve (starting March 1);
  • Implementation of a new pilot service to Galway (starting March 2);
  • Implementation of a ‘Frequent Transit Network’ that will see an increase in frequency and extended service into the evening hours on five major routes (starting Sept. 7).

*Ride counts were recorded by the operators pressing the ‘star key’ each time someone boarded the bus, so percentages and counts are estimates only.