Posts Tagged ‘Yves Desjardins-Siciliano’

VIA Still Seeking Quebec-Windsor Increased Service

June 2, 2019

VIA Rail Canada is studying creating passenger-only route in the Quebec-Windsor, Ontario, but its new CEO has not committed to seeing the project through.

Cynthia Garneau said at the annual VIA public meeting that the carrier has created a committee to review the prospect of making parts of the corridor passenger only.

Garneau said VIA hopes to enter into what she termed “a new phase” before the end of the year.

One element of that “new phase” could be additional trains on existing Canadian National tracks now used by VIA in the corridor.

“This project is complex and ambitious and we continue to work with Transport Canada to capture its scope, to mitigate the risks,” she said. “The feedback we’ve been getting is encouraging. It will be using existing infrastructure, as you know, and existing rights-of-way all the way from Quebec City to Toronto.”

VIA’s former CEO, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, has called for higher service frequency in the corridor.

During the meeting, VIA executives said that revenue was up 7.4 percent and ridership up 8 percent last year.

VIA expects to continue emphasizing its corridor service because it accounts for 95 percent of the carrier’s ridership.

Plans are underway to assign new single-level cars and locomotives to corridor service.

During a question and answer session, VIA management said it expects to resume tri-weekly service by the Canadian between Toronto and Vancouver, British Columbia, by next spring after CN finishes increasing the capacity of the route used by the train.

Currently, VIA is operating one Canadian roundtrip only between Vancouver and Edmonton, Alberta.

VIA also plans to eventually resume going all the way to the end of track on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, but officials gave no date for that.

They noted that the government of Quebec is rebuilding the tracks on the route.

No plans are in the works for VIA to institute service in Western Canada to cities left behind by discontinue of bus service by Greyhound. VIA officials said the carrier does not “have the resources allocated to entertain any more services.”

Likewise, VIA management said that additional service in Southwest Ontario “is solely dependent on working with the infrastructure providers and intermodal partners to evaluate access.

Although the region shows great potential, VIA doesn’t expect to add service in the short term.

VIA Reports Higher Ridership, Revenue in 2018

May 9, 2019

Ridership of VIA Rail Canada trains last year rose by 8 percent to 4.7 million, the carrier said this week.

Revenue was CA$392 in 2018, an increase of 7.4 percent over 2017.

The bulk of VIA ridership was concentrated in the corridor between Windsor, Ontario; and Quebec City, Quebec, where VIA carried 4.5 million passengers.

Last year marked the fourth consecutive year of ridership increases at VIA.

In a statement, VIA CEA Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said the results were a good way to mark the passenger carrier’s 40th anniversary.

“In all areas of the business, employees are working hard to attract more passengers, making them feel welcome and well-treated,” he said. “Thanks in large part to their efforts, the number of passenger miles traveled on VIA Rail has increased by 23 percent since 2014.”

Total 2018 operating expenses were CA$665 million, an increase of CA$34 million compared with 2017 expenses. VIA officials attributed that to additional expenses associated with added capacity.

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said the rise in revenue combined with efficient cost management and economies of scale have helped the company reduce the cost of mobility on Canadian taxpayers by 15 percent (subsidy per passenger mile, excluding pension past service cost).

VIA Continues to Make Ottawa Station Accessible

February 10, 2019

VIA Rail Canada continues to overhaul its Ottawa, Ontario, station to enable it to meet international accessibility standards.

Describing it as the passenger railroad’s most accessible station, VIA President Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said additional work is planned for this summer.

That will include expanding the business class lounge to make it fully accessible. Since work started in 2016, VIA has spent CA$15 million to install two elevators between the station and boarding platforms, and built a heated, level boarding platform with an access ramp.

“The facilities [we] inaugurated are part of our commitment to offer to all Canadians a safe and efficient mode of transportation between the cities of our vast country,” said Desjardins-Siciliano in a statement.

“”What’s more, we are developing a universal accessibility policy that will favor a better integration of the different facets of accessibility, be it in our stations, our trains, our call centers or on the web.”

VIA said in a news release that it has spent more than CA$162 million since 2010 to make its trains and facilities more accessible.