VIA Rail Canada reports increase in key operating results for first half of 2008 Sees continued positive trend in second half



    MONTREAL, Aug. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada today reported an
increase of 6.7 per cent in total passenger revenues for the six-month period
ending June 30 compared with the same period in 2007. The number of passengers
travelling on VIA's network increased by 9.7 per cent in this year's first
half.
    The biggest increase was registered in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor,
which carried 10.3 per cent more people than last year. Likewise, passenger
miles were up 9.5 per cent in the Corridor compared with last year.
    In customer surveys carried out at regular intervals over the first six
months of 2008, 96.1 per cent of respondents said that VIA met or exceeded
their expectations.
    "These results signal that more travellers are opting for a
transportation mode that offers real value, and that is environmentally
responsible, convenient and safe," said Paul Côté, VIA's president and chief
executive officer. "In recent years, all of us at VIA have made a tremendous
effort to focus on our customers' needs and promote rail as a more human way
to travel, and that effort is paying off."

    On-time performance - Improving ... still a challenge

    For the six-month period, on-time performance (OTP) results stood at
65 per cent based on long delays caused primarily by severe weather this past
winter, rail traffic (freight) congestion over which VIA has no control,
repairs to the infrastructure and equipment problems. The last three months
however, have been significantly better than the beginning of the year; in
June alone, OTP stood at 85 per cent, exceeding VIA's monthly target. While
there are still many challenges ahead, VIA continues to work on those areas
under its direct control and in close collaboration with Canadian National
(CN) and other operating railways to improve VIA's train performance ... and
these efforts are paying off.
    Moreover, the recent $692-million investment by the Government of Canada
is allowing VIA to rebuild aging locomotives and passenger cars, as well as
improve the infrastructure over which its trains operate ... major steps
toward improving on-time performance and overall reliability.
    "We remain committed to our goal of delivering on the promise of a
unique, high-value travel experience for our customers," said Mr. Côté. "Based
on these positive results, we are convinced we have the right solution for
today's travellers, and we will keep working hard to maintain that momentum."

    About VIA Rail Canada

    Recently named by travel agents for the second year in a row as the top
railway in the Agents' Choice Awards, VIA Rail Canada provides efficient,
environmentally responsible and cost-effective passenger rail services, both
in Canada's busiest corridor and in remote and rural regions of the country.
Serving more than 450 communities with a network of intercity,
transcontinental and regional trains, demand for rail services continues to
grow as more Canadians turn to train travel as a safe and convenient travel
choice.




For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Malcolm Andrews, (514)
871-6604, Malcolm_Andrews@viarail.ca; Catherine Kaloutsky, (416) 956-7683,
Catherine_Kaloutsky@viarail.ca


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