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Urban public transit, June 2021

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Released: 2021-08-31


In June, the number of urban transit passenger trips was up, following the gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in some provinces amid rising vaccination rates. Nevertheless, transit ridership remained historically low, at around one-third (35%) of June 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

Ridership still lagging pre-pandemic levels

Canada's urban transit networks carried 53.3 million riders in June. This was up 38.4% from the 38.5 million riders in June 2020, when ridership had plummeted because of lockdown restrictions.

As expected, June marked the third straight month of year-over-year increase in passengers. In fact, June was the second-highest month of boardings in six months and may signal a new phase of gradual recovery in ridership.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Urban public transit operating revenue and passenger trips, monthly, 2017 to 2021
Urban public transit operating revenue and passenger trips, monthly, 2017 to 2021

Although more passengers returned to public transit in June, passenger volumes remained below pre-pandemic levels. By comparison, there were 98.5 million fewer riders in June compared with the same month in 2019.

On a monthly basis, rather than the usual seasonal dip in June, the additional 2.3 million passenger trips―a 4.5% increase from May 2021―reflected the easing of restrictions in most areas in the country. Almost two-thirds of this growth (65%) stemmed from urban areas in Western Canada and more than one-third (35%) in Quebec and Ontario.

Financial situation remains weak

Low ridership continued to affect transit agency finances. Total operating revenues (excluding subsidies), reached $126.5 million in June, nearly double the low of June 2020, but $204.6 million lower than the operating revenues earned before the pandemic in June 2019.

  Note to readers

Data for the most recent quarter are subject to revision. The data in this release are not seasonally adjusted.

This survey collects data on operating revenue (excluding subsidies) and the number of passenger trips from a panel of urban transit companies that represents at least 75% of revenues in each province and territory. Users should note that the panel is adjusted annually to maintain the 75% coverage and could differ slightly from what it was in the same month a year earlier.

Caution should be used when comparing values prior to January 2017 with more recent values, as the number of sampled companies changed significantly. Data prior to January 2017 can be found in table 23-10-0078-01.

The Transportation Data and Information Hub, a web portal developed jointly by Statistics Canada and Transport Canada, provides Canadians with online access to comprehensive statistics and measures on the country's transportation sector.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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