- Ridership up 4.1%
- Passenger Revenues up 9.5%
MONTRÉAL, May 10, 2017 /CNW/ - VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) reported record results today for 2016. The positive trend observed since May 2014 continues as the company closed the year with a 4.1% increase in ridership compared to 2015. Passenger revenues also showed a year-over-year improvement, increasing by 9.5% compared to the previous year, which can be partially attributed to the fact that more travellers chose VIA Rail for longer trips. In 2016, VIA Rail carried almost 4 million passengers, who travelled 858 million miles.
A Record Breaking Year
VIA Rail posted performance records throughout 2016, contributing to its unprecedented year-end results. It outperformed its 2015 results over all long weekends including Easter, Victoria Day, Civic Holiday, and Labour Day. The company hit record highs for ridership during the summer when it welcomed more than 926,000 passengers on board its trains, an increase of 4.8 per cent compared to summer 2015. The 2016 holiday season was also the busiest in several years with a 20% increase in revenues and 16% increase in ridership compared to 2015.
Compared to 2015, revenues for Regional Services (Montréal – Senneterre and Jonquière, Sudbury – White River, Jasper – Prince Rupert, and Winnipeg – Churchill) increased 10.1% in 2016. The Winnipeg – Churchill route has become a star performer with double-digit revenue growth exceeding 20% for the second year in a row. The route even saw its highest ridership since 2007 during the polar bear season (October – November).
To grow ridership, VIA Rail added capacity on several trains in the Québec City – Windsor corridor and adjusted its schedule to offer greater flexibility to passengers who chose to take the train. By the end of the year, it had increased capacity by 8.3% compared to 2015.
"I am proud to have joined VIA Rail, a company that has made so much progress over the last few years! VIA Rail has positioned itself as key player in Canada's transportation system," said Ms. Françoise Bertrand, Chairperson of the Board of Directors. "Over the next few years, in collaboration with the Government of Canada and VIA Rail's employees, I hope to contribute to the Corporation's development by fostering real sustainable mobility while fulfilling VIA Rail's mandate to provide a safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service for all Canadians."
Putting Passengers First
Determined to provide the best customer experience, VIA Rail is continuously making service improvements. As it aims to offer Canadian products on board, Business class passengers can now enjoy Première Moisson breads, Montréal bagels, and a Canadian-made scones. Based on customer feedback, a new menu will be launched in Economy class in the first quarter of 2017. To play a key role in fostering inter-modality and creating a seamless travel experience, VIA Rail enhanced its partnerships with Maritimes Bus in Atlantic Canada, Robert Q in Southwest Ontario and Discount Car Rental across the Corridor.
"If there were any doubts about passenger rail's relevance in Canada, our results this year have settled them," said VIA Rail's President and CEO, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. "I'm proud to say that for the third year in a row VIA Rail is celebrating success and growth. The end of 2016 marked our 11th straight quarter of revenue growth, and fourth consecutive quarter of increasing ridership. Passenger rail is a vital part of the fight against climate change for Canada, and it is encouraging to see that even more travellers made the smart choice to leave their cars at home and take the train last year. VIA Rail services provide an accessible and affordable alternative to cars and support the necessary shift towards a more sustainable transportation system."
VIA Rail's annual report is available to download at: viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/governance-and-reports/annual-report
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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For further information: Mariam Diaby, Media Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 514 871-6010, 1 877 393-8787, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com