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The impact of COVID-19 on public transit needs
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, public transit ridership has declined significantly in every city across Canada. However, the need for a dedicated public transit system for the Metropolitan area remains valid.
It is true that ridership in the coming years may not meet expectations made before COVID-19 and that travel patterns may change, especially with a higher proportion of workers who will work from home. On the other hand, a dedicated public transit system enables frequent and reliable service to be offered with sufficient travel capacity. This makes it possible to spread out peak travel hours and allow commuters to move easily throughout the day, which meets the needs of workers, of people travelling for schooling, health or leisure reasons as well as tourists. With population growth and the limited number of parking spaces in both downtown Gatineau and Ottawa, public transportation is necessary to allow people to travel efficiently and sustainably within the area.
In addition, public transportation is necessary to support the development of the metropolitan area. Public transportation is one of the pillars of sustainable societies. It reduces dependence on the automobile, the consumption of non-renewable resources, as well as the emission of greenhouse gases. It allows more people to travel and reduces household spending.
Finally, even in times of crisis, public transportation is an essential service, allowing many workers to continue to support the functioning of society.