June 25, 2020
VIA RAIL COMMITTED TO FOLLOW THE WAY TOWARDS A MORE ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE FUTURE
MONTRÉAL, June 25, 2020 – VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) is pleased to announce that, as of today, it is taking another step towards universal accessibility in order to meet the requirements set out by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).
Among meaningful options VIA Rail is proposing to passengers, here are a few examples:
- Customers with disabilities or functional limitations unable to make reservations on our website will now have the option to make them by telephone 24 hours a day;
- Curbside assistance from the station entrance to the platform, available in select stations, which includes wheelchair assistance, guiding assistance, and assistance carrying baggage;
- Relief areas for service animals will be provided in 80 of our stations;
- An improved digital strategy to make information even more accessible;
- Menus and safety cards are available on board in braille or large print on demand
“At VIA Rail we do more than move passengers: we strive to be Canada’s most accessible national and intercity mode of transportation,” said Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO. “This remarkable collaborative effort which involved all business units throughout the entire organization reflects our commitment to build a more sustainable and more inclusive future for Canadians where safe, easy and convenient travel is to be enjoyed by all. With this new milestone that we have reached, we will continue making accessibility a central element of our decision-making process while modernizing and transforming the Canadian journey.”
As our commitment is to make lasting improvements and change the culture across our organization, we are pleased to be officially launching our Universal Accessibility Policy. This policy will guide our actions and decisions and support our efforts to meet and exceed government regulations. By pledging to remove barriers and avoid creating new ones across all our stations, trains and digital platforms, we wish to create and enhance a travel experience which recognizes each individual’s autonomy, dignity and independence.
As part of our commitment to take accessibility further we regularly engage with organizations representing persons with disabilities or functional limitations in order to inform our decision-making process and gain a better understanding of their needs and expectations. For example, earlier this year we invited them to visit a full-scale mock-up which replicated on a human scale the different accessible areas of VIA Rail’s new Québec City-Windsor corridor fleet.
This new fleet, starting in 2022, will ensure universal accessibility features for passengers with disabilities or functional limitations and their support persons:
- A minimum of four spaces for mobility aids per train in Economy class and Business class;
- Seats for support persons;
- Braille seat numbering and information cards;
- Integrated lifts for mobility aids;
- Visual and audio announcement system;
- Fully accessible and larger bathrooms.
For more information on services now available to passengers with disabilities or functional limitations, please visit our website.
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.