VIA Rail reports a strong first quarter

  • Ridership up 5.9%
  • Passenger Revenues up 8.4%

MONTRÉAL, May 31, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) reported strong results at the beginning of 2017. The company saw its ridership increase by 5.9% compared to the same period in 2016. Continuing the positive trend that began in the third quarter of 2014, the company closed the quarter with an 8.4% increase in passenger revenue. The increase allowed VIA Rail to reduce its requirement for government funding by 5.3% compared to the first quarter of 2016. Passengers travelled 10 million miles more in 2017, up from 2016 by 5.8%.

"I'm pleased to say that the positive trend of the last three years has continued into 2017 with a strong first quarter," said VIA Rail's President and CEO, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. "We have been setting ambitious goals, and thanks to our customer-focused strategy and the hard work and dedication of all our employees, we have been consistently meeting and exceeding these targets. VIA Rail is dedicated to being part of Canada's sustainable transportation system. By implementing concrete, affordable, and accessible solutions, we can encourage more Canadians to leave their cars at home and make VIA Rail their preferred choice for inter-city travel."

Changing People's Habits
VIA Rail's award-winning "Why don't you take the train?" marketing campaign continued in the first quarter with increased online presence around predicted winter storm days to promote the train as a smart choice for winter travel. The company and its partner CAA Québec also produced a video featuring Québecois comedian Pierre-Yves Lord that encouraged drivers to leave their cars at home and take the train during winter storms.

Celebrating Canada 150
As Canada's national passenger rail carrier, VIA Rail is participating in a number of major initiatives throughout the year organized by several partners across Canada. These projects and events were selected based on their ability to bring Canadians together, promote our culture, and foster diversity.

To celebrate our country's 150th birthday, VIA Rail has wrapped a portion of its fleet in the Canada 150 colours. 22 locomotives, 18 passenger cars and the Glen Fraser lounge car have been decorated with the names of some of the cities that VIA Rail serves. Posters and banners were also hung in stations, inviting travellers to join in the festivities.

Over the first quarter, VIA Rail organized a special train to bring media, athletes, spectators and contest winners to Red Bull Crashed Ice, a fast-paced ice cross competition held in downtown Ottawa. VIA Rail also joined forces with Ottawa 2017 and the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for the JUNO Awards weekend to bring over 450 nominees, musicians, media, music fans, sponsors, contest winners, and executives to Ottawa on board the JUNO Express.

As part of its commitment to promote gender equality and female leadership, VIA Rail partnered with Equal Voice Canada in support of the provincial and national Daughters of the Vote Conference. In February, VIA Rail transported more than 50 young women to the National Assembly of Québec to mark the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage and reflect on how far women have come in government, and what still remains to be done.

VIA Rail also created a Canada 150 Youth Pass, offering youth aged 12-25 (and full-time students with a valid ISIC card) unlimited travel across Canada for the month of July. As a result, this summer, over 4,000 young Canadians will get together to discover new places, create lasting memories, and share their national pride.

Innovating Mobility for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth

Sustainable mobility is an integral part of VIA Rail and how it conducts its business. Over the first quarter of 2017, VIA Rail made significant progress on projects that are aligned with its sustainable mobility pillars:

Supporting Socio-Economic Development

  • In collaboration with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, VIA Rail hosted a Citizenship ceremony at Union Station in Winnipeg to welcome 49 new citizens.

Reduce Environmental Impact

  • VIA Rail's Environmental Management System (EMS) certification was renewed to the ISO 14001 international standard.

Be an Attractive Employer

  • As part of its committed to supporting psychological health and safety in the work place, the company started to offer Mental Health First Aid training from the Mental Health Commission of Canada to members of its Health & Safety Committees, Managers, Service Managers, Service Attendants and Station In-Charges.

Provide the Best Customer Experience

  • Based on customer and employee feedback, several improvements were made to menus in both Economy and Business class in the Québec City - Windsor corridor.

VIA Rail's quarterly report is available to download at: viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/governance-and-reports/quarterly-reports

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and its 2,700 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, 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. For more information, visit: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.

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SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.



For further information: Mariam Diaby, Media Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 514 871-6010, 1 877 393-8787, mariam_diaby@viarail.ca, media@viarail.ca

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