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VIA Rail Canada Inc. recorded 5 million riders in 2019, the railroad’s highest annual ridership in 30 years and a 5.5 percent increase compared with 2018.
Of the 5 million riders, 96 percent used VIA Rail for inter-city travel, 3 percent for long-distance travel and 1 percent for regional travel, according to VIA Rail’s 2019 Annual Report, which was released yesterday.
On the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, VIA Rail logged 4.7 million riders, a 5.5 percent year-over-year increase.
Revenue for 2019 totaled CA$411.1 million, an increase of CA$18.5 million compared with 2018. Total operating expenses reached CA$691.8 million, a nearly CA$27 million increase.
In 2020, VIA Rail ridership has dropped significantly so far due the COVID-19 pandemic and protest blockades in Canada that forced some service suspensions earlier in the year.
“Our immediate challenge … is to convince Canadians that we are the safe way to travel as our response to the COVID-19 virus evolves,” VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Garneau said in a press release.