VIA Rail Canada announced today its ongoing modernization plans that are being embarked upon as a result of customer demand. Introducing significant service improvements, VIA Rail’s optimization will result in a workforce reduction of approximately 200 full-time positions, decreasing its employee count by 9 per cent.
What improvements will come as a result of this initiative? VIA Rail promises that tracks, station and trains, customer experience and e-services will all see an upgrades. Expected to be completed by the end of October 2012, these enhancements, says VIA, are a part of the company’s steps toward modernizing Canada’s national passenger rail service.
"By the end of the year, we will complete work to expand track capacity between Montréal and Toronto, where demand for more rail service is high," Mr. Marc Laliberté said. "We will begin operating a completely refurbished fleet of modern, high-efficiency locomotives coast-to-coast. We will start introducing vastly improved passenger cars offering more accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. We will be opening new and renovated passenger stations at key points across our network, and offer e-services so that passengers can better connect in the transportation network and work while on board our trains. Adjusting our services to better align with customer demand is an important step of our modernization – making sure we offer the right level of service to meet customer needs today, and building capacity to serve more customers in markets where demand will grow in the future."
To improve schedules and rail travel opportunities for Canadians, VIA also plans to align services with other passenger services, such as those from publicly-funded providers.
"Where the demand varies dramatically by season, we need to adjust frequencies in order to remain efficient," Mr. Laliberté added. "In growing markets, we are adding more frequencies to meet customer demand. In addition, mandatory services in regions where there are limited transportation alternatives will remain. We are not eliminating rail service on any routes where we operate today and we are maintaining the flexibility to adjust service levels in the future, as customer needs evolve."
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VIA Rail has been committed toward offering high quality services to Canadians while reducing operational cost since 2010. These improvements have led to VIA Rail requiring less government funding, reducing government monetary help by $30 million.