May 7, 2018
VIA RAIL REPORTS STRONG GROWTH IN 2017
From January 1 to December 31, 2017
For immediate distribution
All Train Routes
Total Ridership up 10.5% | 4.4 million passengers
Total Revenues up 12.8%
Quebec City-Windsor Corridor
4.1 million passengers | 11.1% increase over 2016
Revenues up 14.0% over 2016
The Ocean: Montreal-Halifax
78,763 passengers | 1.5% increase over 2016
Revenues up 5.2% over 2016
The Canadian: Toronto-Vancouver
104,960 passengers | 12.6% increase over 2016
Revenues up 16.8% over 2016
MONTRÉAL, MAY 7, 2018 - Continuing the upward trajectory seen over the past four years, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) again posted strong results for 2017. With a vision of being a smarter way to move people, the Corporation provided 4.4 million travellers with a unique, safe and comfortable means of transportation across the country. This is an increase of 10.5% over 2016 — the greatest year-over-year growth seen in the last decade. Revenues have reached $365.7 million, a 12.8% increase over 2016.
A future-facing strategy to meet a growing demand for train services
“This year, it is with great pride that we welcome new members to the VIA Rail Board of Directors. The new Board is particularly inspired by the forward-looking strategy as outlined in our 2025 strategic plan. Over the year, we reviewed and endorsed the fleet renewal project that will serve the Québec City – Windsor corridor, for which funding was subsequently provided by the Government of Canada in its 2018-19 budget. On behalf of myself, the Board of Directors, and the entire VIA Rail community, I would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the Government of Canada for this investment in our future,” said VIA Rail Chair of the Board, Françoise Bertrand.
“Certain moments in 2017 epitomized the perseverance and commitment of VIA Rail employees to serving our passengers. Through the Canada 150 Youth Pass, thousands of young people were able to discover the country’s infinite richness. VIA Rail prepared well for the adventure in every department while the dedicated in-station and on-train staff ensured that our travellers were well cared for. And, on Christmas day, when a train was stranded because of treacherous weather in Spy Hill, Saskatchewan, the local community and our employees joined forces to turn an unfortunate situation into an opportunity to do good and make it a Christmas to be remembered,” said VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Yves Desjardins-Siciliano.
“2017 was a record-breaking year. We expect no less of 2018 as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the creation of VIA Rail as a Crown Corporation dedicated to passenger rail service. We are working on projects that will enable VIA Rail to make a greater contribution to Canada’s economic, social and environmental progress through efficient, accessible, affordable and even more sustainable inter-city passenger transport”, added Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano.
Celebrating Canada 150th anniversary
In 2017, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The railway helped settle and unite communities across the country both physically and figuratively, and in 2017 the train’s uniting force continued to be felt. During this milestone anniversary year, VIA Rail celebrated alongside Canadians by participating in over 200 Canada 150 events across the country. These events were selected based on their ability to bring Canadians together, promote our culture, and foster diversity.
The month of July 2017 was memorable for over 4,000 youth who travelled the country, thanks to VIA Rail’s unlimited Canada 150 Youth Pass, commemoratively priced at $150. The pass holders enthusiastically shared stories of their journeys using VIA Rail’s hashtag #VIACanada150 on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. Their Canadian stories reached over 500,000 people.
Putting passengers first
In 2017, 5.3% more capacity was made available in the Corridor, compared to 2016, in order to further accommodate the growing passenger base. Several enhancements were made to the schedule, notably the addition of year-round frequencies and new stops in the Québec City-Windsor corridor, as well as additional departures to the Ocean train over the holiday season.
Determined to provide the best customer experience, VIA Rail has also continued to make service improvements. New menus were launched in both Economy and Business class with a continued focus on promoting Canadian products.
In line with its sustainable mobility strategy, electric car charging stations were installed in the parking lots of several train stations.
As part of its commitment toward the accessibility of its facilities, VIA Rail revised its accessibility policy, which took effect in January 2018. VIA Rail now offers space for two passengers travelling together on the same train with qualified 3-wheel scooters.
Growing VIA Rail’s community
VIA Rail’s award-winning “Why Don’t You Take the Train?” marketing campaign continued throughout the year with messages encouraging people to pause and re-evaluate their travel habits.
VIA Rail’s travel blog continued to showcase Canada’s vibrant communities and became a resource for travel inspiration for over 111,000 visitors in 2017 alone.
Strengthening VIA Rail’s assets
Over the year, approximately $40 million were invested in 60 capital projects at our maintenance centres and stations.
In addition, a $2.5 million renovation program upgraded the two Customer Centers located in Montréal and Moncton, as well as the Operation Control Center in Montréal to modern, world-class facilities.
VIA Rail’s annual report is available 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 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 approximately 4.4 million passengers annually. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. Visit the “About VIA Rail” section at: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.