MONTRÉAL, Canada – While snow, freezing rain and high winds made travel challenging throughout eastern Ontario and southern Québec yesterday, some 8,600 people outsmarted winter by leaving their cars at home and traveling with VIA Rail. This represents an increase of 39% compared to an average Tuesday. On routes linking Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, VIA Rail pulled out all the stops to meet the additional demand, adding cars where possible and boosting the number of employees in the call centers, in stations and on board.
“Once again yesterday, travelers put their trust in us to get them safely to their destinations,” remarked Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, VIA Rail’s president and CEO. “Savvy travelers already know that the train is a smarter way to travel, for a whole host of reasons. Storms like yesterday’s give us an opportunity to show that to even more customers. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of colleagues across the region, we were able to meet this peak demand, bring all our passengers to their destinations, and provide the exceptional service for which VIA Rail is known and recognized.”
Some 45 trains were scheduled on all affected routes yesterday. 100% of them operated. Despite significant snow accumulation and freezing rain, 95% of these trains arrived on time or with a slight delay.
VIA Rail began its Outsmart Winter campaign earlier this year. It includes increased communications and advertising in the hours leading up to major storms, making it easier for people to plan their travel and avoid weather-related problems. VIA Rail has also assigned employees in major stations specific greeting and directional duties to make passengers feel welcomed and to ensure that their trip is easy and enjoyable.