Urban public transit, February 2022
In February, ridership on Canada's urban transit networks grew sharply, reaching 78.6 million passenger trips, after experiencing a one-month pause on account of the Omicron-fuelled COVID-19 resurgence.
With the easing of restrictions in February, public transit ridership was able to recover more than half (51.1%) of its pre-COVID-19 level from February 2019—a marked improvement from January's 41.8% recovery rate.
Ridership up sharply, but only half of pre-pandemic levels
Canada's urban transit networks carried nearly 78.6 million riders in February—an increase of 62.1% from the 48.5 million riders in February 2021―marking the 11th straight month of year-over-year growth.
As the Omicron surge receded and restrictions were lifted across the country, coupled with rising gas prices, more people used public transit to get to work, school and other in-person settings in February. While the total number of transit passengers nearly doubled from February 2021, it still remained well below the pre-pandemic levels from February 2019, at 75.2 million fewer passengers.
On a monthly basis, with fewer calendar days in February, urban transit typically shows a seasonal dip in ridership from January. However, February 2022 saw a large monthly increase of 17.0%, or 11.4 million trips with four-fifths (83.3%) of this growth from Quebec and Ontario, where public health measures reintroduced to combat Omicron were mostly lifted in February.
Indeed, according to the Labour Force Survey, the proportion of Canadians who worked most of their hours from home fell 5.8 percentage points from January. Much of February employment growth was in industries, such as accommodation and food services and retail trade, in which working from home is not an option.
The financial situation improves
In February, transit agency operating revenues (excluding subsidies) reached $175.4 million―an increase of 50.4%, or $58.8 million, from February 2021, but down $159.3 million compared with the pre-pandemic February 2019 level.
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. 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.
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.
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