Canadian transit industry reversed trend and increased national ridership in 2017

TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reporting 2.11 billion passenger trips for 2017, Canadian transit systems bucked a North American trend and reported their first aggregate increase in national ridership since 2014, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA).

2017 saw a 1.5% increase in Canadian transit trips over the previous year, according to new data released by CUTA. That is about 30 million additional passenger trips. While some transit systems reported decreases in ridership over the same period, growth from other systems contributed to an overall national increase.

Systems reporting ridership growth in 2017 commonly identified an increase in service levels as a key enabler of their ridership growth. Factors that contribute to an increase in service levels include more service hours, higher service efficiency and reconfigured routes. Other positive influencers on ridership as reported include growing student populations, increased tourism, higher gas prices, economic development and higher employment rates in some communities.

“This upward trend in ridership is welcome news and provides important information to transit systems and to the governments that fund them,” said Marco D’Angelo, President and CEO of CUTA. “Systems that offer more services to their customers are often rewarded with higher ridership. That said, the challenge for transit systems is offering increased service levels while working with limited operating budgets. I look forward to discussing this further with CUTA members at our upcoming annual conference in Toronto.”

The release of CUTA ridership statistics for 2017 coincides with its Annual Conference and Transit Show, which takes place from November 19 to 21 in Toronto. The event is co-hosted by the Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx and is one of the largest transit industry conferences in North America this year.

In addition to discussing the promising news on national ridership, participants in CUTA’s annual conference will also learn more about a recent Ridership Trends Research Project that was commissioned by CUTA and conducted by the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute. This research found that for every 10% increase in predicted vehicle revenue hours that a transit system provides, a 10% increase in ridership can be expected, holding all other factors constant. Vehicle revenue hours are hours in which a vehicle is actively providing service.

About CUTA

The Canadian Urban Transit Association is the collective and influential voice of public transportation in Canada. CUTA’s membership includes the vast 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.

CUTA collects ridership data from over 100 conventional transit systems and more than 70 specialized transit systems across Canada. CUTA’s comprehensive Industry Data Program has operated for over 30 years, gathering over 1,300 data points from each transit system. Taken together, these systems represent over 98% of ridership in Canada.

For further information:

Christine Harminc
Manager, Communications
harminc@cutaactu.ca
416-365-9800 ext. 119