What can bring transit ridership back: An econometric study on the potential of usage incentives and operational policies in the Greater Toronto Area

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - park and ride, operations - reliability, ridership - behaviour, ridership - demand, ridership - mode choice, planning - surveys, planning - service level, planning - personal safety/crime, policy - fares


COVID-19, post-pandemic, transit resilience, park and ride, reliability


The COVID-19 virus has unimaginably disrupted the transit system and its overall functions. Users’ vigilant safety concerns posed by the pandemic and the consequent transit avoidance behaviour for a prolonged period could have lasting impacts on their transit preferences, leaving transit agencies to search for effective post-pandemic transit resilience policies. This study examines potential post-pandemic interventions and pandemic-induced psychological attributes impacting the future transit choice behaviour of non-transit users of the pandemic. It utilised data from a transit demand and choice adaptation survey in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. A two-stage model was formulated to jointly capture the pre-pandemic transit usage choices of those who did not make transit trips during the pandemic and the respective post-pandemic transit choices for these user groups. The models depicted that the post-pandemic transit choices were inversely affected by one’s pandemic concerns. In contrast, the choices were positively influenced by respondents’ views on post-pandemic transit usage and keeping the adopted safety policies in place. Regarding the conventional level of service attributes, paid park and ride facilities enhanced the probability of post-pandemic transit choice almost by 15% for occasional users. In comparison, the changes due to reliable service ranged from 10 to 11% for pre-pandemic users. Analogous propensity was seen for fare schemes offering free transfers between cross borders and 25% or more off-peak discounts on base fares. Moreover, more direct transit routes and increased parking costs by vehicular modes post the pandemic encourage travellers to retake transit.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Transportation Research Part F Home Page: