Transpo Ridership Badly Trails Pre-Pandemic Levels

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

The purpose of this memo is to provide Members of Council and the Transit Commission with  information on November 2023 ridership on conventional bus and O-Train services. 

Ridership in November 2023 was 6.5 million customer trips, representing a 17.4 percent increase  from November of last year and a 1.6 percent increase from October 2023. Ridership for the 12  months ending in November 2023 was 1.6 percent higher than the 12-month period ending a  month earlier, at 63.5 million trips. 

In comparison with pre-pandemic ridership in November 2019, ridership recovery is at 71 percent.

Staff will continue to monitor and report on ridership levels and on ridership recovery trends either  at Transit Commission meetings or, when required, by memo.  

Should you have any questions about this information, please contact Pat Scrimgeour, Director,  Transit Customer Systems and Planning, at extension 52205. 

Original signed by 


Renée Amilcar 

cc: Senior Leadership Team 

Transit Services Departmental Leadership Team 

Director, Public Information and Media Relations

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2 Responses

  1. MM says:

    Does the city define customer trip? Sounds straight forward, but not really. Odds are, 95% of the customers will probably account for at least 2 trips. If you take the bus in the morning, you’ll likely be on it in the evening.

    Now add in times for those who ride both a bus and LRT and you’re transferring to the LRT, but not though a station. That’s 2 taps in the morning and 2 in the evening. Say you take a bus on Bank street and board the LRT downtown to go East. And you do that 4 days a week. This adds up over time.

    What does 6.5 million customer trips equate to in revenue?

  2. The Voter says:

    How does their paltry increase correlate with the increase in population in the city? For example, if they show a 1.6% increase in ridership year over year but the population had gone up by 2%, that would actually be a net loss in ridership. It’s very ingenious of them to compare the raw numbers from one year to the next and come up with increased ridership without factoring in the broader base from which they should be drawing their passengers.

    I suppose it’s that New Math again but certainly anyone presenting figures that way in a first year university stats course would not get a passing grade.

    The same Math approach allows them to say that they aren’t cutting service as of January when they will have over 70,000 fewer hours of buses being on the roads. That’s not a cut apparently but is “optimizing service” which is odd because when I went to school “optimizing” something made it better. That will be cold comfort to those customers whose buses have been “optimized” out of existence and who now have a longer walk to find a bus and/or a longer wait for a bus, either or both of which will probably lengthen their total trip time.

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