Canadian Urban Transit Association

Canadian Urban Transit Association

September 19, 2014 09:30 ET

Smaller Canadian Cities Show Greatest Increase in Public Transit Ridership, Big Cities Hold Steady

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2014) - Canadians continue to demonstrate their increased use of public transit across the country with recent data indicating a national ridership growth of 16 million trips in 2013.

According to data released by The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) this week, the 0.78% increase however was less significant in previous years due to a number of factors. Electronic fare systems which report more accurate ridership data are being used by more transit systems, and the extreme weather events experienced by much of the country were both factors in the smaller increase compared to last year's 2.8% increase.

Cities of 2 million or less saw an increase in ridership of 7%, across the board

"While ridership continues its upward trend on average across the entire country, there was a marked increase in smaller cities across Canada" comments Michael Roschlau CUTA President and CEO. "Our smaller cities and regions by population size saw the greatest increase in ridership with Ontario's Niagara Falls experiencing the highest percentage of growth at 67% and Niagara-on-the-lake a 75% increase" adds Roschlau.

By geographic region, Canada's Territories experienced the greatest growth in 2013, with a 16% increase in ridership and 688,818 additional regular service passenger rides. This increase can partially be attributed to the success of Whitehorse's extended late night weekday service hours.

Big cities hold steady, Saskatchewan cities mixed

On average, Canada's largest cities held steady on ridership at a 1% increase, with Montreal increasing by 1% and Toronto increasing by 2%. Vancouver saw a 2% decrease in ridership.

Saskatchewan on average witnessed the greatest decrease in reported provincial and territorial ridership across the country, with a 26% decrease in reported trips, due to large decreases in reported trips in the urban centers of Saskatoon and Regina. "These decreases can also be attributed to electronic fare systems, such as the one implemented in Saskatoon explains Roschlau. "These systems collect real-time data and therefore report accurate ridership numbers compared to the manual fare collection and reporting methods" he adds.

Regina's decrease was due to a route review and route updates, in addition to a fare increase. Elsewhere in Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert both saw significant ridership increases with 20% and 3% respectively.

Overall, 2013 data continues to demonstrate that Canadians continue to turn to public transit, and that more and more, investments in transit in Canada's smaller cities are resulting in ridership growth for these communities.

Public transit representatives in Ottawa next week

With this data in hand, industry representatives including leaders from Canada's transit systems and transit manufacturers and suppliers will be in Ottawa beginning Monday to meet with parliamentarians as part of Transit Awareness Days. The three-day event includes meetings to discuss current issues and recommendations for the industry, including investment in transit innovation, transit funding and support for Bill S-221, the private member's bills that call for stiffer punishment for those who assault public transit employees.

About CUTA:

CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada. For more information about the organization, visit www.cutaactu.ca.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Urban Transit Association
    Erin Brophy
    Manager, Marketing and Communications
    613-804-0402
    Brophy@cutaactu.ca