B.C.'s urban public-transit systems have seen ridership and revenue return at a rate that is higher than the country as a whole, according to new Statistics Canada data.
The news is not a surprise given a study earlier this summer that found Metro Vancouver's rapid-transit ridership topped a list of all North American cities with rapid-transit systems. Urban Institute senior research associate Yonah Freemark wrote that study, based on information using American Public Transportation Association data.
Today's data show that urban transit systems in B.C. and the Canadian territories in July generated $86.1 million in revenue, excluding subsidies, down 6.4 per cent from $92 million in revenue, excluding subsidies, in the same month in 2019.
That compares with urban transit systems countrywide in July generating $284.1 million in revenue, excluding subsidies, down almost 17 per cent from $342.2 million in revenue, excluding subsidies, in the same month in 2019.
Ridership on B.C. and territorial urban transit systems similarly is closer to 2019 levels than ridership on those systems across Canada. Ridership in the B.C. and territorial region hit 38.3 million in July, down 13.93 per cent from 44.5 million in the same month in 2019. Canada-wide, 110.8 million passengers rode urban public transit systems in July, down 24.83 per cent from 147.4 million passengers in the same month in 2019.
Atlantic Canada was the best performing region, with revenue down only 2.2 per cent in July, compared with the same month in 2019. Ridership in that region in July was down only 4.17 per cent compared with July 2019.
B.C. and territorial urban public-transit systems were quicker to rebound than other regions of the country as the pandemic started to wane. Year-over-year revenue in July slightly lagged the rest of the country. Urban transit system revenue in the B.C. and territorial region in July was up 19.08 per cent, compared with the same month one year ago. Canada-wide revenue on those systems increased 19.47 per cent.
B.C. and territorial urban transit system ridership in the past year, however, was 25.16 per cent, which was significantly higher than 18.2-per-cent ridership growth countrywide in July versus July 2022.