Historically and empirically, when there are no incentives to encourage the use of public transit, such as an improvement in services, a freeze on fees or some other measure, public transit ridership remains about stable in Canada.
When economic activity is stable, ridership remains stable. If the economy improves, ridership increases, and if there is a recession, its use decreases. Those are the main factors that affect the level of ridership.
In Quebec, there was a program to improve Quebec public transit policy and service from 2007 to 2012.
As an illustration, here are a few figures: during that period in Quebec, nine transport companies expanded their service offer by 28%, and ridership increased by 14%. This happened at the same time as the public transit tax credit was in effect. So it is difficult to separate the effect of the tax credit and of the program on those increases.
We feel that infrastructure programs are important, but the range of measures is more important. That is why we advocate the use of that approach, both for users and for investments and operational costs.