Most believe government should ensure transit is safe, affordable

TORONTO — Almost three out of four Canadians (73 per cent) agree Ottawa should offer long-term funding to public transit agencies, a new poll reveals.

The survey of more than 800 Canadians, carried out by EKOS Research Associates, also found the vast majority of respondents (83 per cent) say governments have a responsibility to ensure people can access safe, affordable transit.

The poll is believed to be the first public-domain survey on this issue since the federal government announced emergency transit funding in the summer.

“A large majority of Canadians from coast to coast want federal dollars spent on transit,” says Gideon Forman, transportation policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation. “And they want this money to continue flowing after COVID is tamed. They want it to be ongoing.”

John Di Nino, president of Canada’s Amalgamated Transit Union, adds: “This poll confirms that Canadians value public transit and want to see the federal government meaningfully support and prioritize its continued operations, during the pandemic and beyond. Workers and riders, and even those who don’t rely on transit themselves, know that public transit is crucial for community well-being and to combat the climate crisis.”

The belief that government should ensure access to safe, affordable transit is held by Canadians across all demographics, including 87 per cent of females, 80 per cent of males and 90 per cent of people under age 35. Importantly, it’s held by 81 per cent of respondents who rely on a car.

The poll also discovered 80 per cent of Canadians support Ottawa’s pledge to help municipalities purchase 5,000 zero-emission buses.

“It’s heartening that the electric-bus plan is so popular,” Forman says. “E-buses check just about every box: they tackle the climate crisis, help clean the air and, because they’re made in Canada, create good local jobs.”

Canada’s public transit agencies are currently suffering COVID-related financial losses totalling hundreds of millions of dollars per month.

The EKOS poll of 812 adult Canadians was completed on November 3, 2020. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.44 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Gideon Forman, David Suzuki Foundation,, 647-703-5957