Via Rail traffic, revenue increased in 2016

Written by Railway Age Staff
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VIA Rail Canada recorded a 4.1% increase in ridership to 3.97 million passengers in 2016 and 1.37 billion passenger-kilometers, while revenue jumped by 9.5% from C$297.8 million ($218.75 million) in 2015 to C$324.3 million in 2016.

Total operating expenses increased by 2.4% from C$577.8 million a year ago to C$591.8 million in 2016, but the greater increase in revenue meant that Via Rail was able to cut its operating deficit from C$280 million in 2015 to C$267.5 million, a reduction of 4.5%.

Record highs for ridership were set during the summer when the operator carried more than 926,000 passengers, up 4.8% on-year. 2016 holiday season was also the busiest in several years with a 20% increase in revenues and a 16% increase in ridership from 2015.

Revenues for regional services increased 10.1% in 2016. “The Winnipeg-Churchill route has become a star performer with revenue growth exceeding 20% for the second year in a row,” the company said. “The route even saw its highest ridership since 2007 during the polar bear season (October-November).”

To grow ridership, Via Rail added capacity on several trains in the Québec City-Montreal-Toronto-Windsor corridor. By the end of the year, it had increased capacity by 8.3% from the previous year.

On-time performance improved slightly from 71% to 73% in 2016, although well below the 82% punctuality rate achieved in 2013 and 83% in 2012.

“If there were any doubts about passenger rail’s relevance in Canada, our results this year have settled them,” said VIA Rail’s president and Chief Executive Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. “I’m proud to say that for the third year in a row Via Rail is celebrating success and growth. The end of 2016 marked our 11th straight quarter of revenue growth, and fourth consecutive quarter of increasing ridership.”


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