Release of VIA Rail's 2012 Annual Report

MONTREAL, May 13, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada (viarail.ca) has released its 2012 Annual Report to the public after it was tabled in the House of Commons. In 2012, VIA Rail implemented major initiatives to better meet the needs of its customers. As a result, the company is now better positioned for the coming years. The company's continued commitment to the efficient use of public funds helped bring down the operating deficit (before employer contributions to pension plans) for the third year in a row.

Paul G. Smith, Chairman of VIA Rail's Board of Directors, remarked that "in 2012, we changed our schedule and frequencies to better meet market demand. We believe that getting more people to take the train benefits Canada. It contributes to the country's economic growth, socioeconomic development and it protects our environment."

Marc Laliberté, VIA Rail's President and Chief Executive Officer, noted that "2012 helped VIA Rail further strengthen the foundations of our company for the coming years. The frequency adjustments announced in June 2012 and our intermodal strategy are starting to bear fruit. The new schedule and the increase in intermodal connections have been very popular with travellers."

PERFORMANCE | REVENUES | RIDERSHIP
Thanks to the implementation of rigorous cost management measures, VIA Rail reduced the government funding required to cover its operating costs by more than eight million dollars compared to 2011 (before pension plan contributions). This brings the annual reduction in its operating funding to over $38 million since 2010. This performance is due to responsible cost management and increased productivity thanks to improved work processes and service upgrades.

The average revenue per passenger saw a 2.2% increase in 2012 compared to 2011, reaching $65.52. Overall, in 2012, the passenger volume for the network was 3.9 million travellers, down 5% compared to 2011. Total revenues for the year were $277.6 million, a 2% decrease compared to 2011.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, VIA Rail's ridership and revenues dropped 0.5% and 2.3%, respectively, compared to the same quarter in 2011. In the segments between Ottawa, Toronto, Montréal and Québec City, where 28 new departures per week were added in December 2012, customer traffic and revenues have increased 10.4% and 2.8% respectively.

MAJOR PROJECTS
At the end of 2012, the equipment and infrastructure upgrade program — launched in 2007 thanks to the Government of Canada's investment of close to $1 Billion — was 90% complete, including the rebuilding of F40 locomotives and major track upgrades along the Québec City - Windsor corridor.

Service improvements

  • Reduced travel times between Ottawa and Toronto;
  • New Ottawa - Québec service;
  • Adjustments to train frequencies and the introduction of train schedules that meet customers' needs — these changes helped VIA Rail focus resources on the improvement of services and attract new customers on routes where demand is growing;
  • Expansion of the network of intermodal partners, providing customers with better connections to urban transit systems, bus companies and airlines. At the end of 2012, this network included 15 partners across Canada. Integrated services give our customers more convenient ways to travel and organize their travel more efficiently while encouraging them to leave their car at home. These services make VIA Rail an unbeatable option for intercity travel;

Equipment

  • F40 locomotive fleet rebuild completed;
  • LRC (Light, Rapid, Comfortable) car upgrades;
  • Reconfiguration of Renaissance cars used between Québec City and Windsor and on the Montréal - Halifax service to facilitate access for persons with disabilities;

Tracks

  • Major track upgrades along the Québec City - Windsor corridor;

Information technology

  • Completion of major technological projects facilitating travel for VIA Rail customers: e-commerce (including e-tickets) mobile reservations and integration with online travel services;
  • Installation of a world-class wireless Internet service four times faster than before;
  • Adoption of a revenue management system focused on fares and capacity management, to better respond to customer demand;
  • Launch of an automated train status information system providing real-time information on train locations.

VIA Rail's annual financial results are available at: viarail.ca/2012annualreport.

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's (viarail.ca) 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 train services linking 450 communities through its 12,500-kilometre network, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years, and is recipient of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested almost a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Follow the progress of our transformation at viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/capital-investment.

Follow us on our Evolution Blog at viaevolution.ca, on Twitter @VIA_rail and on Facebook.


SOURCE: VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information:

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


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