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Hook public transit users while they’re young: study

Jeanette Agcaoili sits on a bus on Guy St. in Montreal on Friday February 15, 2013. A new McGill University study has found that young Montrealers are not only using public transit much more these days, that shift is holding as they age. The researchers say the Société de transport de Montréal could seize on the trend and make transit even more attractive to youth in a bid to keep more of them from switching to cars. Photograph by: John Kenney , The Gazette

MONTREAL – Get them on buses, métros and trains while they’re young.

A new McGill University study has found that young Montrealers are not only using public transit much more these days, but that the shift is holding as they age.

The researchers say Montreal-area transit agencies could seize on the trend and make transit even more attractive to youth.

That could keep more of them from switching to cars and exacerbating Montreal’s traffic and pollution problems.

The rate of youth transit use has increased around the world in recent years.

In Montreal, 43 per cent of people age 20 to 25 used only public transit to get to school or work in 2008, compared with just 36 per cent in 1998, according to the study, conducted by Michael Grimsrud, a McGill urban-planning master’s student, and urban-planning professor Ahmed El-Geneidy. Continue reading