Today, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) published its results for the third quarter of 2018 and reported another successful quarter. Ridership increased by 6.2%, while passenger revenues increased by 5.1% compared to the same quarter in 2017. Ridership and revenues in the Québec City-Windsor corridor grew by 8.3% and 11.0% respectively.
“I am happy to report our 11th consecutive quarter of ridership growth and our 18th consecutive quarter of revenue growth, with noticeable spikes during the Canada Day and Labor Day long weekends,” said VIA Rail’s President and CEO, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano.
“At VIA Rail,” he added, “we believe that travelling should be safe, easy, sustainable and enjoyable. Our quest to become the smarter way to travel for all Canadians is reflected through the launch of our new communication platform – Love the Way – which stands for everything we work so hard to be in this increasingly complicated and congested transportation environment. Via Rail employees are committed to providing our passengers with the highest quality of dependable service, and clearly, more and more Canadians are appreciating our services and recognizing their value.”
3rd Quarter Report Highlights
Love the Way
Our new communication platform, Love the Way, is a reflection of what makes train travel unique. We hope to encourage more and more Canadians to rediscover the joy of travel and thus contribute to a better future economically, socially and environmentally.
The new communication platform was rolled out through television spots, online video spots and banners, movie theatres, bus shelters, digital out-of-home billboards and print media across the Québec City – Windsor corridor. More specifically, it was also featured in Toronto on a Flexity streetcar wrap and on the Tec Tower Digital billboard at Dundas Square. Our website at viarail.ca has also been updated to reflect the new campaign with an improved user experience, more tailored to clients’ needs.
As part of VIA Rail’s commitment to leading Canadians towards a more sustainable future, important announcements were made by the Corporation earlier this year for the refurbishment and renovation of 75 train cars of our Heritage Fleet. Over the quarter, important milestones were reached as VIA Rail’s Montreal Maintenance Centre rolled out its first renovated Economy class car. As well further consultation with organizations representing people with disabilities, people with reduced mobility, families and regulating parties including Transport Canada and The Canadian Transportation Agency were held regarding our fully accessible cars. The groups visited a full-sized soft mock-up of the new configuration of the accessible areas of the cars, and we received suggestions for improvement and positive feedback.
New pet policy
For many people, pets play an important role in their lives by bringing them comfort and companionship. As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the travel experience, VIA Rail has reviewed its pet policy and since August passengers travelling in both Economy and Business class on board our trains in the Quebec City–Windsor corridor can bring along their furry companion.
Better signage on digital towers
To improve the boarding process and provide clearer signage in stations, digital towers with large vertical screens have been installed in five stations—Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Kingston and Québec City. They display essential information for passengers as well as security messages and advertisements.
40th Anniversary cars
Celebrations of VIA Rail’s 40th anniversary year continued this summer. Twenty Anniversary Economy class cars were secretly selected along our routes from Halifax to Vancouver. During their trip, passengers were given a box full of surprises, and one lucky winner per Anniversary car found an extra surprise in their gift box: a one-night getaway to the destination of their choice!
Continuing to give back to celebrate VIA Rail’s 40th anniversary
In 2018, VIA Rail celebrates four decades as an autonomous Crown Corporation. To give back and to thank Canadians for their loyalty throughout the years, VIA Rail launched the 40 Sustainable Actions for Our 40th Anniversary national initiative. This community-based initiative touches on the Corporation’s sustainability pillars as we undertake 40 collective actions across the country – one for each year of service.
Strong ties to the Canadian Armed Forces
In an ongoing effort to highlight the contribution of the Canadian Armed Forces, VIA Rail has been collaborating with many organizations including Salus Ottawa, the Wounded Warriors Highway of Heroes Bike Ride, the 2018 Army Run, the launch of Supporting Wounded Veterans Canada dedicated to supporting troubled veterans, and the Grand rassemblement des vétérans made possible by the Retour en Force initiative. VIA Rail has also partnered with Du Régiment aux Bâtiments organization and VETS Canada to collaborate and recruit more candidates from the defense community.
Closer collaboration with Aboriginal communities
This quarter we continued our discussions on our vision for passenger rail and its future implications for our Aboriginal partners with the Hiawatha Nation and with representatives of several Indigenous communities. VIA Rail was also proud to be associated with two important events during this period, the Emerging Leaders for Sustainable Community Development conference, and the 16th annual Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Gala, which recognized excellence in Aboriginal relations.
Silver Parity Certification from women and boards
In September, VIA Rail was awarded the Parity Certification at the Women in Governance gala, in recognition of its success in promoting and supporting women in leadership development, career advancement and representation at all levels of the organization.