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Canadian passenger bus and urban transit industries

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The Daily

Tuesday, March 18, 2008
2006 (preliminary)

Canadian passenger bus and urban transit industries saw their combined financial performance reach record heights in 2006.

For the year, total revenue for the bus-related industries rose 12.3% to a record $9.5 billion. Expenses increased at a slower pace, rising 7.4% to $7.7 billion. As a result of the strong growth in revenues, net income for the industries rose 40.1% to $1.8 billion.

Within the bus industries, the urban transit industry accounted for the majority of the revenue generated in 2006. The industry also experienced the largest year-over-year growth in revenues, with revenues from urban transit services and other bus activities rising 14.5% to $6.6 billion. The school and employee bus industry followed with a 12.4% rise to $1.7 billion.

The strong financial performance of the industries is the by-product of increased operating and capital contributions from each level of government, rising fares, and a growing number of urban transit passenger trips on buses, commuter trains, streetcars and subways.

The number of passenger trips is of particular importance to the urban transit industry as it provides a strong indication of both usage and viability. For the year, passenger trips rose 2.2% to 1.6 billion trips. The increase is the result of rising demand factors. These include a growing urban population, traffic congestion caused from road motor vehicles, and the affordability of travel that urban transit provides over private vehicles.

From a provincial perspective, the majority of the operating revenues for the bus industries in 2006 were generated from activities in Ontario and Quebec. Ontario accounted for 43.8% of the operating revenues, while Quebec accounted for 26.2%.

In terms of employment, the bus industries employed more than 93,000 people in 2006, with the urban transit and school and employee bus industries accounting for 48.6% and 39.7% of the workforce respectively. Employment expenses, at 58.9%, also continued to be the main expenditure incurred by the industries, as the average expenditure per employee rose to $48,601 from $47,754 in 2005.

Energy consumption, another major expenditure within the industries, increased as well in 2006 with diesel fuel once again continuing to be the primary source of energy used. For the year, diesel fuel increased 4.0% to 797.7 million litres.

The industries also made significant capital related investments in 2006. Specifically, the industries spent $1 billion on the acquisition of buses and other rolling stock, while more than doubling their spending to $1.1 billion on other capital expenditures. The urban transit industry continued to make the largest capital investments, spending $1.9 billion — a 39% increase over 2005 levels.

The increase in capital is the result of larger capital subsidies from various levels of government, which rose 43.2% to $1.7 billion in 2006.

Available on CANSIM: tables 408-0005 to 408-0012.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2798.

Additional information surrounding the industries will soon be made available in the Surface and Marine Transport Service Bulletin (50-002-XIE, free).

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the Dissemination Unit (toll-free 1-866-500-8400; fax: 613-951-0009;, Transportation Division.

Tables. Table(s).