Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The wheels on the bus go round and round

A study by Pitney Bowes Mapinfo found that Prince Rupert Transit users were one of the highest spenders on public transit in the country.

By percentage Rupert tallied in at number five with a trend in the first half of 2008 that continues to show Rupertites affection for their buses.

Rupert ranks high in bus use
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Page three

A study on Tuesday named Prince Rupert as the fifth-highest spenders by percentage users of transit in Canada.

Pitney Bowes Mapinfo, an American company that specializes in GPS systems and market research, claimed that Ruperites spend 0.29 per cent of their income each year on taking transit around town.

Chief demographer for Pitney Bowes Mapinfo Tom Exter said the research is done to give local and potential businesses an idea of what kind of market a place like Prince Rupert is.

“For example a car dealership would look at a place like Toronto or Vancouver and discover that there is a high number of people who use transit in the area,” said Exter.

The study did not list employment factors such as comparisons of income levels between cities but Exter did say that the percentage of income used for transit was still pretty small across Canada.

“Obviously, when speaking about low income earners, that percentage of users and the amount of income they spend goes up.”

Statistics released by BC Transit Wednesday claimed that the amount of Ruperite bus passengers walking through bus doors per-hour have so far increased in the first half of 2008.

According to those figures, 39.9 per-hour now use BC Transit in Prince Rupert in 2008, up from the 35.8 users per-hour in 2007. Total passenger figures for 2007-08 have so far increased to 393,910, up from 354,904 up 2006-07, or an increase of 39,006 riders.

Exter did note that what they found while conducting the research was that where you lived often dictated your method of travel you used.

“In Quebec City, which is probably the most ‘European’ city in North America, they tended to use compact cars like Europeans do,” said Exter. “But in Windsor, because of its proximity to Detroit, people tended to drive bigger North American cars.”

Oddly enough, Windsor also ranked highly on the public transit list even though it is one of the highest gas guzzling cities in Canada.

Windsor ranked eighth out of ten for public transit, while Vancouver ranked, third. Toronto ranked first.

The median income of Prince Rupert was $30,434, meaning that the average bus user spent $892 of that income on bus travel. Contrasting that total, the average Vancouver income is $37,095 meaning they used $124 each year on bus travel.

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