MONTRÉAL, Dec. 20, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced today that, following an order by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), its accessibility policy was revised on December 18, 2017 and will take effect on January 3, 2018. The Corporation will offer space for two passengers travelling together on the same train with qualified 3-wheel scooters either by having two tie-down spaces per train or by securing two unoccupied scooters in one tie-down.
In the past, VIA Rail's trains had been able to accommodate multiple persons travelling with a mobility aid device — in cases where they could be transferred to a seat and the device could be stored. However, on certain trains, storage constraints prevented VIA Rail from transporting more than one person travelling on scooters. Over the past ten months, the Corporation conducted in-depth studies and held multiple consultations to examine various solutions that would allow two scooters all across the country.
"VIA Rail is committed to providing sustainable, reliable and accessible intercity travel for all Canadians. Thanks to our revised policy, more people with mobility restrictions will be able to travel together. Over the years, we have made substantial improvements to our services to ensure Canadian passenger rail remains at the forefront of accessible transportation for travellers with mobility or other restrictions. As the Canadian population ages and the needs of our clientele evolve, we will continue improving the accessibility of our trains, stations and services," said VIA Rail's President and CEO, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano.
More details on VIA Rail's accessible services can be found in a new section on the website at viarail.ca/en/accessibility.
Training all front-line employees
On an on-going basis, all client-contact personnel receive thorough training on regulations, codes, policies, and procedures relating to the transportation of persons with disabilities. They will be provided with an update on the revised policy.
Past investments in improved accessibility
Since 2010 VIA Rail has invested over $100 million to its assets to improve accessibility:
- VIA Rail's equipment;
- Building and renovating stations;
- Optimization of VIA Rail's web site at viarail.ca, enabling people with disabilities to better access information;
- $6 million worth of complimentary tickets were offered to the companions of passengers with disabilities onboard.
More accessible equipment
2014 — The Canadian train (Toronto-Vancouver) added a newly renovated car featuring an accessible cabin with on-suite shower, as well as an on-board lift.
2012 — The Ocean train (Montréal–Halifax) was equipped with a fully accessible sleeper cabin and an accessible Economy class car.
Ottawa station — Construction of an elevated train platform with a side access ramp, and the installation of new elevators. The current renovation work will bring the building up to international accessibility standards.
Chatham, Sarnia, Dorval, Saint-Lambert stations — Improved the accessibility.
Oshawa, Cobourg, Belleville, Brockville stations — Over the past five years, fully accessible overhead walkways and platforms were built.
Windsor station — In 2012, a new station was opened with up to date accessibility improvements.
Fleet renewal project
As part of the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor fleet renewal project, various groups representing people with disabilities were consulted over the past two years in order to get a better understanding of their needs. Accessibility on each train for multiple travellers with wheelchairs will be one of the key requirements of the new fleet, which will fully comply with the new CTA regulations. A detailed business case for this project was submitted to Transport Canada at the end of 2016, and is currently under study. The delivery of the new fleet is planned to be completed within three to four years once funds are granted.
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and all its 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 about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. For more information, visit: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.
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For further information: Mariam Diaby, Media Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 514 871-6010, 1 877 393-8787, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com