LIAM HATCH, Communications Advisor, Durham Region Transit

DURHAM: Members of the Transit Executive Committee (TEC) met virtually at Regional Headquarters on Wednesday, January 6th, to discuss various Durham Region Transit (DRT) initiatives and updates, which included paper transfers, On Demand ridership and PRESTO.

Details and highlights include mitigating the risks of COVID-19 transmission and protecting the health and safety of employees and customers, paper transfers were suspended at the onset of COVID-19. TEC approved the recommendation from DRT staff that paper transfer and ticket use remain paused at this time, and PRESTO cards continue to be provided free at DRT Point of Sale (POS) locations, through March 31st, when loading $6.50 onto the card. Staff will also provide an update to TEC at the April meeting. Two-hour unlimited travel transfers are still available with PRESTO.

“PRESTO remains the easiest way to pay your DRT fare. With two convenient options; a physical card and the E-Tickets app, PRESTO provides a safe touchless option [which] actually saves customers money every time they ride.” explained Bill Holmes, General Manager of Durham Region Transit.

On Demand ridership: In November 2020, a total of 8,931customer trips were delivered. December 2020 saw 8,288 trips. Ridership in the low demand zones continues to be below the minimum thresholds to resume regularly scheduled routes. Total monthly ridership across the DRT network remains at approximately 35 percent of 2019 levels.

“The health and safety of everyone on board our buses is the priority. I’d like to thank DRT customers and staff for taking all the necessary steps and precautions while travelling, and especially for following all public health guidance.” stated John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer.

Other highlights from the General Manager’s report include: PRESTO adoption rate in 2019 for DRT was 37.5 percent; A contributing factor to DRT’s low PRESTO adoption rate is the Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass), accounting for approximately 30 percent of ridership; Metrolinx will be collaborating with Durham Region on a transit fare solution for post-secondary students, to enhance PRESTO adoption.