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Urban public transit, August 2023

Released: 2023-10-19


In August, ridership on Canada's urban transit networks continued to recover, reaching 118.5 million passenger trips.

For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger volume recovered over four-fifths (81.1%) of the pre-pandemic level from the same month in 2019, after a brief pause in growth in July 2023.

Recovery resumes

The total number of passenger trips on Canada's urban transit networks was 118.5 million in August, up 21.9% (+21.3 million trips) from August 2022 and continuing a string of consecutive monthly year-over-year increases since April 2021.

August 2023 was the first month since the onset of the pandemic in which transit ridership reached more than 80% of the level from the same pre-pandemic month in 2019. Despite this milestone, there were about 27.7 million fewer riders in August 2023 compared with the same month in 2019.

Strong job growth continued and more workers returned to physical workplaces in August according to the Labour Force Survey, which contributed to the increase in urban transit ridership. In fact, the proportion of workers with hybrid work arrangements was 10.3%, up by 1.7 percentage points compared with August 2022, while that of workers who worked exclusively from home was down 3.2 percentage points (to 13.6%).

Prior to the pandemic, August typically recorded the lowest monthly ridership count. Meanwhile, August 2023 experienced an unseasonable bump, with ridership rising by 6.9% (+7.7 million rides) from July.

Revenues reach record high since the onset of the pandemic

In August, transit agency operating revenues (excluding subsidies) were $293.7 million, an increase of 22.5% (+ $54.0 million) from the same month in 2022. While this was the highest level of total revenue recorded since March 2020, operating revenues in August 2023 were $48.6 million lower than those earned in August 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Urban public transit operating revenue and passenger trips, monthly, 2019 to 2023
Urban public transit operating revenue and passenger trips, monthly, 2019 to 2023

  Note to readers

Coming soon! More in-depth results from the Monthly Passenger Bus and Urban Transit Survey. Statistics Canada will publish a new table with operating revenues and ridership at the city level for selected transit agencies.

Survey data are revised on a monthly basis to reflect new information.

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 the previous year.

One-time payments from secondary and post-secondary institutions for academic-year student passes are typically reported as revenue during the early fall and early winter months.

Data before 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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