December 3, 2020
2020: A KEY YEAR FOR ACCESSIBILITY AT VIA RAIL
Montréal, December 3, 2020 – As part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) wishes to reiterate its firm commitment to offering an accessible and inclusive travel experience.
“Driven by our mission to put our passengers first and by our wish for a more sustainable and accessible Canada, we deployed in 2020 sustained efforts to continue to improve the travel experience of passengers with disabilities,” said Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The projects completed this year reflect our determination to keep the momentum going and to participate in the collective effort to create a barrier-free Canada.”
Despite the pandemic, 2020 has marked a turning point for accessibility at VIA Rail. Across the organization, our teams have worked vigorously to carry out targeted initiatives and implement measures aimed at making VIA Rail the most accessible national and intercity mode of transport in Canada.
As such, VIA Rail completed 18 projects, as part of the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations, which came into effect last June, and has thus taken a decisive step towards universal accessibility.
The services offered by VIA Rail to its passengers include, amongst others:
- An improved digital strategy to make information even more accessible on our website;
- Onboard menus and safety cards available in braille or large print on demand;
- Curbside assistance from the station entrance to the platform available in our ten busiest stations, which includes wheelchair assistance, guiding assistance, and assistance carrying baggage;
- A written version of onboard audio announcements available upon request;
- Relief areas for service animals provided in 80 of our stations;
We would also like to highlight the more than 1,200 employees, including members of the management team, who completed additional accessibility training to be even better prepared to accompany passengers with disabilities.
VIA Rail's Universal Accessibility Policy
As we are always committed to going always further, we have also launched our Universal Accessibility Policy. Beyond aiming to create a travel experience that recognizes the autonomy, dignity and independence of each individual, this policy is a solid foundation upon which our organizational culture is built. Thus, by placing accessibility at the heart of all our decisions, we will continue to be agents of transformation.
Collaboration with organizations
Whether in the context of the new CTA regulations or the Corridor Fleet Replacement Program, we ensure that we always work closely with organizations representing people with disabilities. We attach great importance to the valuable exchanges with these organizations, which guide our decisions by enabling us to better understand their needs and expectations in terms of sustainable mobility. VIA Rail would like to thank all its partners for their support and continued trust.
To learn more about the accessible travel experience offered on our trains, we invite you to view this short video demonstrating how persons in wheelchairs board, disembark and move about our train cars.
About VIA Rail
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 transported over 5 million passengers in 2019. 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 https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.