During the first quarter of 2016, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) saw another increase in ridership and reported the best results for revenues since 2008. While snow and freezing rain made travel challenging throughout the quarter, more travellers trusted VIA Rail to help them “outsmart winter” by leaving their cars at home and taking the train during winter storms.
More travellers, increased revenues, less funding required
From January to March, VIA Rail welcomed 3,000 more passengers than the first quarter of last year and Canadians travelled 3.5 million more miles on our trains, up by some 2%. As a result, VIA Rail increased its passenger revenues by 10.6% during the period and reduced its requirement for government funding by 10.9% compared to the previous year.
“We are continuing the pattern of growth that began in 2015, and once again we are reporting increases in revenues and ridership,” said VIA Rail’s President and CEO, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. As a matter of fact, this is our eighth consecutive quarter of increased revenues. These results signal that our customer-centric strategy and passengers-first mission have been effective in drawing more people to our trains. People are starting to recognize that VIA Rail is a smarter way to travel.”
“There have been improvements in our On-Time Performance across our entire network this quarter. Our OTP reached 79.2% compared to 63.3% for the same quarter last year. This significant improvement reflects the cooperation and support VIA Rail gets from its freight railway partners. However, these improvements are bittersweet as they result from a noticeable reduction in freight traffic on the shared rails, especially in western Canada, which in turn meant fewer delays for VIA Rail trains,” Desjardins-Siciliano continued. OTP on infrastructure owned and operated by VIA Rail was 95.7%. This supports the proposition of our Dedicated Tracks project: with our own dedicated passenger rails, both VIA Rail and its freight railway partners would be more efficient for Canadian passengers and shippers and thus, jointly support Canada’s economic growth.
First Quarter 2016 milestones
Successful marketing campaign: helping Canadians “Outsmart winter”
Improvement to on-board service offerings
Budget 2016 funding for technical studies and other pre-procurement activities related to the renewal of VIA Rail’s fleet
Improvement in On-Time Performance
Easter and Spring Break optimization of capacity and schedules
Upgrades to VIA Rail’s GPS Safety system
Recognition and support of the defence community
Meetings with community groups in Southwestern Ontario
National partnership with the National Arts Center
Recognised by Forbes as one of Canada’s Best Employers
Publication of VIA Rail’s first Sustainable Mobility Report: “Laying the Groundwork for the Generations to Come” (April)