VIA Rail on the upswing in the fourth quarter of 2012

Ridership increases of more than 10% on most popular routes: Quebec - Montréal - Ottawa - Toronto

MONTREAL, Feb. 11, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - During a speech before the Canadian Club of Montreal today, VIA Rail Canada's President and CEO (www.viarail.ca), Mr. Marc Laliberté, shared ridership results for the last quarter on the most popular routes in its network.

Between Quebec City and Montréal, the number of passengers increased by 10.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. In the Montréal - Ottawa - Toronto triangle, the number of passengers was up by 10.4% in Q4 2012 versus the same period one year earlier. This performance represents a trend reversal from previous quarters. On an annualized basis, ridership on these same routes varied by 2.4% and -0.8% respectively compared to 2011.

For the long-distance routes, adjustments to the frequency in scheduling that took effect during the fourth quarter improved the performances for the Ocean and the Canadian. The occupancy rate for both of the services reached 67% in November and December 2012, compared to 58% for the same period in 2011. The average number of passengers per train improved on both trains, up from 121 in 2011 to 126 in 2012 for the Ocean between Montréal and Halifax. The Canadian between Toronto and Vacouver welcomed 168 passengers on average in 2012, compared to 148 in 2011.

Overall in 2012, passenger volume for the network was 3.9 million travellers, a decrease of 5% compared to 2011.  Average revenues per passenger reached $65.52, up 2.2% compared to 2011.

VIA's intermodal strategy saw the number of connections between VIA Rail and its various partners increase by 119% compared to 2011. On average, 160 customers per day purchased a ticket from VIA Rail's website with the intention of using the services of more than one transportation company.

As a result of operational improvements, the Corporation is confident that it will reach its budget goals for 2012 and will continue to improve its financial performance for a 3rd consecutive year by reducing government funding (before contributions to pension funds).

"These results prove that our efforts to use public funding judiciously are working. Even though there is still a lot to do, the increase in average revenue per passenger and that of the occupancy rates for the Ocean and the Canadian are proof that our strategy to adjust scheduling frequency according to market demand was the right one. All our efforts are ultimately aimed at making VIA Rail's services financially and commercially viable," affirmed Mr. Laliberté.

About VIA Rail Canada

As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide safe, efficient and cost-effective passenger transportation in the country's two official languages. The Company operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre network. Recipient of the RAC's Safety Award in 2012 for the 11th time in 12 years, and of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted on by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media, VIA safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has provided VIA Rail with nearly one billion dollars in capital investment funding. Follow the evolution of current projects at viarail.ca/transformingvia.

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SOURCE: VIA RAIL CANADA INC.

For further information:

Mylène Bélanger
Senior Media Relations Advisor
VIA Rail Canada
514 871-6137 | 1 877 393-8787
mylene_belanger@viarail.ca