Train lovers ask VIA Rail to give them a little love in return. A petition circulates online since Thursday for better rates, more stable, considering that it is a crown corporation, and therefore subsidized by public funds.
The webpage trainsvides.com was already widely circulating on social networks, Friday, a little less than 24 hours after it went online. Launched by the Collective against empty trains, it calls for better access to rail transport. Some 300 people signed it on Friday afternoon.
“We are very frequent travelers on the Montreal-Quebec City corridor,” Greg Storm Sadetsky, one of the petitioners , told the Sun. The latter wanted to be clear from the outset: the approach is nothing like a sling VIA Rail tale. “It’s a love letter,” he said. But for the relationship to work in the long run, some irritants need to be addressed.
Calling train transport “pleasant” and “relaxing”, Mr Sadetsky lamented, on behalf of the Collective, far too high fares and extreme variations. “Sometimes you can not take the train because the round trip will cost $ 160. It’s insane. ”
According to the Collective, a traveler can pay up to “300%” more expensive for the same trip. “Fluctuating and unpredictable prices make it impossible to estimate future travel costs, complicate financial planning, frustrate the traveler, and contribute to its abandonment of rail transportation,” says the text accompanying the petition.
Affordable rates would attract and above all maintain a loyal customer base, and thus put an end to “empty trains”. The Collective believes that a single trip from Quebec to Montreal at a price of around $ 20 would fill the many vacant seats, which these users say they observe repeatedly. To illustrate the point, Mr. Sadetsky photographed the two empty cars of a train he boarded on April 23.
VIA Rail reacts
VIA Rail responded Friday to the petition, saying it also “against empty trains!”. In a written communication, a spokeswoman for the company mentions a “strategy” put in place to “increase the occupation in both directions [of the Quebec-Montreal corridor]”, without specifying its nature. It adds that the number of passengers has increased by 16% since. “In 2017, there are approximately 492 186 passengers who traveled between Montreal and Quebec, on 10 trains a day on weekdays, 6 on Saturdays and 7 on Sundays,” the letter added.
In terms of pricing, “ticket prices will vary depending on availability and demand, which may vary depending on the route of travel and when the reservation is made,” says VIA Rail. “Our fare structure is based on the value of rail transportation in terms of comfort, amenities, on-board service, etc.”