Canadian transit ridership and operating revenues both down more than 75 percent in June

Sept. 1, 2020
Statistics Canada reports significant year-over-year declines for Canadian systems in both transit usage and operating revenues, but the June numbers show increases over April and May data.

Canadian transit usage fell nearly 75 percent and the industry’s operating revenues were down 77 percent in June when measured against June 2019. The data was shared by Statistics Canada, which notes the country’s transit ridership and operating revenues have shown a significant annual decline every month since March.  

In June 2020, Canada’s transit systems provided 37.9 million passenger trips compared to 149.5 million passenger trips in June 2019. While the year-over-year numbers are significantly down, June’s statistics are reflecting a slow rise from their low point in April.

In April, the country’s transit industry provided 23.4 million passenger trips on bus, train and subways, while the number of passenger trips increased slightly in May to 26.2 million.

Total operating revenues (excluding subsidies) of urban transit agencies were C$75.6 million (US$57.95 million) in June, which is down 77 percent from the previous year, but up from their low in May of C$48.8 million (US$37.41 million).

“According to a recent study on commuting during COVID-19, the proportion of workers using public transit has decreased by almost 10 percentage points (from 12.7 percent to 3.1 percent) since the onset of the pandemic, with teleworking and switching to other modes of transportation being the main reasons. In this study, even among those who said they felt safe returning to their physical workplace, almost three-quarters (74 percent) were very or extremely concerned about using public transit,” noted Statistics Canada. “The continued recovery of transit ridership in the coming months may depend on the perceived effectiveness of transit agency safety measures.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.