Via Rail passenger revenue down 6.5% in Q3 as ridership slips 2% to 1M

MONTREAL – Via Rail has reported a 6.5 per cent year-over-year decline in third-quarter passenger revenue to $72.2 million as ridership slipped two per cent to one million.

Overall the Crown corporation reported $14.3 million in net income compared with $12.6 million in the comparable year-earlier period.

That came as total income of $77.3 million, together with funding of $74.9 million from the federal government and a gain of $18 million from the amortization of deferred capital funding offset $155.9 million in operating expenses, up from $149.2 million in the 2012 period.

Despite the decline in ridership, Via’s train occupancy rate increased two percentage points to 60 per cent from 58 per cent and trains achieved on-time performance of 83 per cent, unchanged from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, ridership in the Quebec City-Windsor, Ont., corridor rose six per cent to 912,000.

“We would like to believe that these positive results are an early indication that a train culture is emerging in the corridor,” president and CEO Marc Laliberte said in a release announcing the results.

“This means that more people may be starting to consider the train as their first travel option, for longer journeys, over their car.”

VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network carrying almost four million passengers annually.