Transport Action disappointed with VIA Rail plan

Passenger rail should serve all
communities on mainlines. 
"Via Rail Canada offered a disappointing vision at today's meeting. VIA Rail should be expanded to provide rail passenger service to all communities that are on mainlines," David Jeanes, the National President of Transport Action Canada said.

"Efficient passenger rail service, where track infrastructure exists, is proven to provide passenger service at the lowest possible level of public subsidy when all costs, including infrastructure, are taken into account." Dan Hammond from Transport Action Ontario said. "VIA Rail Canada only provides such service in limited areas of Canada. In most parts of the country VIA does not run trains frequently enough to meet the needs of many potential travelers."

No cuts were announced at the meeting. 

Transport Action is advocating that the Government of Canada provide the required investment and legislative framework to transform VIA Rail Canada into a national network  for our communities  so that rail passenger service will become a sustainable and economical alternative for Canadians. Transport Action Canada, along with it's regional associations Transport Action Atlantic, Transport Action Ontario, Transport Action Prairie and Transport Action BC and  affiliates including Transport 2000 QuĂ©bec and Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains support the proposal. 

Updates: May 30

No answers at VIA rail meeting
The Via Rail Annual Public Meeting on May 29  was quite polite and predictable, Transport Action's Peter Lacey reported. "Via Rail CEO Marc Laliberte is obviously very politically talented. Three direct questions were put to him:
Q: nothing has been said about Western services.  a: we're repairing and upgrading 12 cars.
Q: what about service through Regina, Calgary, Banff  a: it's not up to VIA to look into such services. 
Q: the rumour is that there will be 2 trains cut from the Canadian and hundreds of us will lose our jobs.  A: that sort of decision would be preceded by an announcement.

Lacey reports, "As always, the biggest irritant is that they emphasize areas with strong and growing demand, and for othe areas will do what's appropriate, depending on the business case.  The corridor will get most of the attention anyway, but if they want to dispense with everything else they should say so!  One of the questions I'll be sending in is about the business case.  Another is - with Greyhound dropping all but three of its routes in AB & MB - surely there's an opportunity to serve the vacuum that's left. Clearly he/they backed off from making any real announcements because they were afraid of the rank public reception that there would be.

Winnipeg Free Press, Worried Via workers probe officials on cuts

"Worried Via Rail employees peppered senior company officials with questions about rumoured service cuts and job losses at the Crown corporation's annual meeting Tuesday in Winnipeg. During a question-and-answer session near the end of the meeting, Winnipegger Jacqueline Robert-Choptuik, an activity co-ordinator on Via's western trains, asked company officials if there was any truth to rumours service between Toronto and Vancouver would be cut from three trains a week to two.Robert-Choptuik said if that were to happen, "hundreds of us will be losing our jobs," Murray McNeill reported for the Winnipeg Free Press on May 29. 

"Via president and CEO Mark LalibertĂ© said the corporation is constantly reviewing its routes and schedules to address changing market demands. And if changes are needed, the details will be announced at the appropriate time," the Winnipeg Free Press reported. 

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