VIA Rail reports improved performance in Q2 2021
While it continues to adapt its operations according to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) reports an improved performance for the second quarter of 2021 with an increase in ridership and passenger revenues of 188% and 417% respectively compared to the same period last year.
"This second quarter, VIA Rail continued to fulfill its mandate while never losing sight of its mission to put passengers first," said Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer. "As promised, when conditions allowed, we increased our operations with, for example, the return of one full weekly round-trip on the Canadian. As always, we are closely monitoring the evolution of the pandemic and we look forward to keep making progress on our service resumption plan while continuing to follow recommendations from public health authorities and decrees from the federal and provincial governments."
Modernization at the heart of VIA Rail's future
During the second quarter, VIA Rail reached important milestones in its modernization program which includes, amongst others, its High Frequency Rail (HFR) project and its new Corridor fleet.
The April Federal Budget reflected the Government of Canada's firm support for VIA Rail's High Frequency Rail project which will transform the way present and future generations live and travel, by upgrading and building tracks dedicated to the transport of passengers between Québec City and Toronto. VIA Rail also revealed the design of its new fleet which, in addition to being one of the most environmentally friendly fleets in North America, will offer an unparalleled, barrier-free and fully accessible travel experience to passengers in the Québec City – Windsor corridor. The first train set is expected to be commissioned into revenue service in 2022.
"It's time to reimagine the way we move Canada, from reservation to destination, to deliver new levels of comfort, accessibility and sustainability. That is why the VIA Rail team continues to work tirelessly on its modernization projects. In fact, the milestones reached in the second quarter and the announcements made in July by the federal government regarding our HFR project demonstrate that we are making steady progress. We are determined to offer a more sustainable and modern passenger rail service to Canadians, and we cannot wait to deliver initiatives like our HFR project and our new Corridor fleet," declared Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer.
VIA Rail, the most trusted transportation company
VIA Rail was recognized as one of the most trusted companies in Canada in 2021 by the Gustavson Brand Trust Index (GBTI) and ranked first in the "Transportation" category for the third consecutive year. The GBTI is provided by the University of Victoria's Gustavson School of Business and the 2021 ranking was completed after nearly 9,000 Canadians were consulted on the way they view certain brands, including their consumer advocacy and social equity.
Ratification of collective agreement 3
Collective agreement 3 was ratified on May 15 by the members of Unifor, Local 100, the union representing approximately 700 VIA Rail employees working in maintenance centres. This agreement includes, just like collective agreements 1 and 2, a 2% wage increase for 2021, benefits improvements as well as the review of several work rules.
VIA Rail's 2021 second quarter report is available