A significant number of commuters who work at Vancouver’s downtown hotels were persuaded to choose transit over driving when given subsidies on monthly transit passes, finds a new study by researchers in SFU’s urban studies program, working with the City of Vancouver.

FASS News, Urban Studies

Transit subsidies increase sustainable commuting to downtown Vancouver

September 22, 2020
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By Christine Lyons

A significant number of commuters who work at Vancouver’s downtown hotels were persuaded to choose transit over driving when given subsidies on monthly transit passes, finds a new study by researchers in SFU’s urban studies program, working with the City of Vancouver.

In a report submitted to city council, SFU professors Peter Hall and Anthony Perl found that when provided with 15-50 per cent subsidies on their passes, transit only commuting increased between three and four per cent. The growth is notable given the level of transit commuting among study participants (more than half were already transit-only commuters when the study began in 2018.)

The increase is also significant given transit commuting challenges many of the workers face, including working on weekends, travelling at off-peak hours or having no regular start and end times for their shifts. Less than half of the study population lived in the City of Vancouver, resulting in longer commutes to their downtown workplaces.

“Workers in other industries face similar commuting challenges to these, and we hope this study will support a focus on equity—making transit affordable and accessible to those who most depend on it,” says Hall.

Researchers collected their data in 2018 and 2019, before the pandemic. Seven participating hotels, along with Unite Here Local 40, allowed the SFU research teams into the hotels at three different times to survey workers about their commuting choices.

“We have found few, if any, other studies that focus on the how workers in a specific industry respond to transit subsidies, and none that focus on hospitality or tourism workers, who are so vital to Metro Vancouver’s economy,” says Hall.

To read more: http://www.sfu.ca/urban/news/recent-news-items/transit-study-shows-subsidies-increase-sustainable-commuting-to-downtown-vancouver.html