May 21st, 2024

Via Rail ridership jumps, but falls short of 2019 levels as earnings losses mount

By The Canadian Press on May 14, 2024.

Via Rail says it steamed past pandemic ridership numbers last year, but fell short of 2019 levels. Passenger trains sit on the tracks at the Via Rail Canada maintenance centre in Montreal, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

MONTREAL – Via Rail says its ridership continued to rise last year but still fell short of 2019 levels.

The Crown corporation says some 4.1 million passengers hopped aboard its trains in 2023, a one-quarter jump from the year before.

Via says the higher demand boosted revenues by 29 per cent to $430.7 million.

However, the figures sat well below Via’s ridership record of five million in 2019, and its operating loss actually increased eight per cent year-over-year to $381.8 million.

Ninety-six per cent of passengers and more than four-fifths of revenue in 2023 stemmed from the corridor between Quebec City and Windsor, Ont.

Via chairperson Fran├žoise Bertrand says a new fleet of trains for the corridor introduced last year enhanced accessibility and upped the frequency of service on the popular route.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2024.

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