Canadian transit ridership continues to trend upwards

Investments urgently needed to meet increasing demand and changing expectations

- Calgary, Canada
Canadian transit ridership continues to trend upwards

Transit ridership grew in 2018 in Canada to an all-time high of 2.16 billion passenger trips, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). CUTA announced this news today at their annual conference in Calgary, Alberta.

The increase to 2.16 billion trips equates to a growth in ridership of 50 million linked trips taken by passengers on Canada’s transit network – a 2.4% jump from 2017.

Systems reporting ridership growth commonly identify an increase in service levels as a key enabler of this growth. Factors that contribute to increased service levels include more vehicle revenue hours, better efficiency and reconfigured routes. Research commissioned by CUTA suggests that for every 10% increase in vehicle revenue hours that a transit system provides, a 10% increase in ridership is expected. Most of the operational investments made by transit systems go to increasing vehicle revenue hours.

Increasing ridership, though welcome, puts a strain on transit systems and the mobility services they provide daily to Canadians,” said Marco D’Angelo, President & CEO of CUTA. “Investments are urgently needed to meet higher demands on our transit networks and respond to changing user expectations.”  

Governments must work together to get dedicated transit funds to municipalities more quickly. These local governments are responsible for planning, procuring and building the public transportation networks of tomorrow and Canadians are waiting impatiently for this to happen,” he said. 

The release of the 2018 ridership statistics took place at CUTA’s Annual Conference and Transit Trade Show, the largest of its kind in Canada. This year’s event is hosted by Calgary Transit, and includes a rail programming stream with partners from the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) as well as CUTA’s Young Leaders Summit – Transit for the Next Generation.

About CUTA

CUTA logoThe Canadian Urban Transit Association is the collective and influential voice of public transportation in Canada. CUTA’s membership includes the majority of Canadian transit systems, private transport operators and transit leaders from across the country. CUTA is uniquely positioned to work with all levels of government to provide industry insights on key transit policy issues affecting Canadians and their communities.

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