A 3-year improvement trend at VIA Rail continues as Canada's passenger rail operator reported record results for 2016.
The company closed the year with a 4.1% increase in ridership compared to 2015. Passenger revenues also showed a year-over-year improvement, up 9.5% compared to the previous year, partially attributed to the fact that more travellers chose VIA Rail for longer trips. In 2016, VIA Rail carried almost 4 million passengers, who travelled 858 million miles.
VIA Rail posted performance records throughout 2016. It outperformed its 2015 results over all long weekends including Easter, Victoria Day, Civic Holiday, and Labour Day. It hit record highs for ridership during the summer when it welcomed more than 926,000 pax, an increase of 4.8% compared to summer 2015. The 2016 holiday season was also the busiest in several years with a 20% increase in revenues and 16% increase in ridership compared to 2015.
To grow ridership, VIA Rail added capacity on several trains in the Québec City – Windsor corridor and adjusted its schedule to offer greater flexibility to passengers who chose to take the train. By the end of the year, it had increased capacity by 8.3% compared to 2015.
"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 CEO, 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.
"Passenger rail is a vital part of the fight against climate change for Canada, and it is encouraging to see that even more travellers made the smart choice to leave their cars at home and take the train last year. VIA Rail services provide an accessible and affordable alternative to cars and support the necessary shift towards a more sustainable transportation system."