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Urban public transit, March 2022

Released: 2022-05-19


In March 2022, urban transit ridership continued to grow, with 85.8 million trips taken on Canada's urban transit networks.

As COVID-19 restrictions eased across the country, and many commuters returned to their workplaces on a full time or hybrid basis, passenger volumes have now recovered 52.1% of the March 2019 level, before the pandemic.

Ridership up but lags pre-pandemic levels

Canada's urban transit industry provided an estimated 85.8 million rides in March 2022, up 56.0% (or 30.8 million more rides) from March 2021, marking the 12th straight month of year-over-year growth.

As the country emerged from the Omicron-induced restrictions, there was a sharp jump in ridership. In fact, March 2022 had the third highest monthly ridership since the pandemic began. Transit use was up with more people returning to physical workplaces, shopping in-store, dining out, attending events and learning in-class. Despite this jump, there were still about 78.9 million fewer riders in March 2022 compared with the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.

March's ridership growth reflected higher employment levels as reported by the Labour Force Survey. March experienced notable job gains in the accommodation and food services, construction, and manufacturing sectors, which all require on-site presence. Moreover, many office workers began to transition back to the workplace as the proportion with hybrid work arrangements edged up from February, while the proportion of those who worked exclusively from home was down to 20.7%.

On a monthly basis, public transit increased by 8.9 million rides (+11.6%) from February, a much higher monthly rate than observed before the pandemic. Almost two-thirds (61.8%) of these rides were reported by agencies in Western Canada, while those operating in Quebec and Ontario accounted for about one-third (36.0%). Indications are for more ridership growth in April, with record-low unemployment reported by the Labour Force Survey along with record-high gas prices.

Financial situation improving

In March 2022, transit agency operating revenues (excluding subsidies) was $189.3 million, an increase of $62.3 million (or of 49.1%) from March 2021, but $ 151.8 million lower than in March 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Urban public transit operating revenue and passenger trips, monthly, 2018 to 2022
Urban public transit operating revenue and passenger trips, monthly, 2018 to 2022

  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.

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 (

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