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icons Council Strategic Plan Report

Transit Ridership

Transit ridership is one of three key performance indicators relating to the Improving the Ability to Get Around priority, one of five priorities outlined in City Council's 2018–2022 Strategic Plan.

Why this Measure Matters

Public transit is a vital part of a healthy road network, as demonstrated through the goals set out in the City of Barrie’s Transportation Master Plan where transit modal share targets are to increase from 3% to 7% by 2041. The usage of transit, as demonstrated by the transit ridership, is a leading indicator of the effectiveness of the public transit network.

2020 Performance: 1,707,632

2019 Performance: 3,295,723



Source: Transit department. Ridership is measured using the fleet's on-board automated passenger counter system that tracks boardings and alighting throughout the entire transit network.

2020 Activities

In January and February of 2020 ridership was tracking slightly higher than the same time period from the previous years. When the pandemic hit, Barrie Transit focused its efforts to supplying safe and reliable transit to continue to support essential travel, as opposed to driving increased ridership. Measures that were implemented include but not limited to rear door boarding, on-bus capacity limitations, installation of driver protective barriers and mandatory masking.

Throughout the pandemic Barrie Transit ridership had fluctuated as low as 25% and as high as 50% of its pre-COVID ridership levels. Without a preemptive funding commitment from other levels of government, Barrie Transit reduced its service hours to as low as 65% of its regular service levels to mitigate further financial losses and, as per the guidance from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, on-bus capacity restrictions we implemented to support physical distancing. As a result of the service level reduction and capacity limitations overall effective capacity of the service was reduced by approximately 70%.   

As the focus for 2020 was to continue to provide safe and reliable service for essential travel, Barrie Transit was able to successfully maintained services throughout the pandemic with minimal disruptions, as well as implement some innovative initiatives that have made a positive difference to the community. An example of this included the introduction of the Barrie Transit on Demand service model which focuses on low-demand areas and could a tool to be used by the City of Barrie to align transit services with the growth of Barrie, in an efficient and affordable manner.

Planned 2021 Activities
Last Updated: May 2021

The focus for 2021 will be to establish and implement ridership recovery strategies. Ensuring we continue to offer safe and reliable service, while instilling confidence in our service will be important to encourage the return of ridership. We will continue to monitor and foster activities to support and encourage individuals utilize Barrie Transit, in hopes to drive the goal of working towards Transit’s modal share targets. In 2020, the City of Barrie received official funding approval from the provincial and federal governments for the construction of the Allandale Mobility Hub, set to open late 2022.  As a result, work is underway on the transit network design to build a blueprint for growing our existing transit system to best meet the needs and goals of today’s city, while developing a long-term plan for a future network

Previous Years' Activities


2019 Performance: 3,295,723

2019 Activities

From 2017 to 2019 Barrie Transit ridership grew by approximately 25% as a result of the introduction of the Georgian College U-Pass. Most of the initial growth occurred in 2018 and stabilized in 2019 with a year-over-year increase of 1%. Other activities that have made a positive difference to the community and in turn have improved ridership include:

  1. The introduction of the Barrie Transit field trip pass, which is an initiative to explore new ways of integrating services to better serve our younger resident demographic, while providing the opportunity to use the system in a safe and educational manner.
  2. The introduction of the City’s first express route targeted to improve service quality by reducing travel times.
  3. Development of a multi-year fare strategy that is intended to continue to invest in the future of transit, while balancing affordability with incentive programs.
  4. Investments in technologies such as MyRide Barrie, which provides the residents the opportunity to track their bus in real time.

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