Comment 30632

By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted April 30, 2009 at 10:53:48

I tried to take VIA once - and was informed that the train was at least 2 hours late. Joke indeed. Nonetheless I plan to take it across the country this summer. For travelling alone it is the cheaper alternative but even I end up driving when the group is large enough.

I know that back in the 50's CP Rail offered some truly competitive rates. This was when both rail companies were pushing hard to make passenger rail viable to their business. They introduced demand based fares and you could get dirt cheap tickets for travelling during non-peak times. Apparently the strategy worked.

Nowadays it seems like VIA is in survival mode, doing everything on the cheap at the expense of growing ridership. They run trains with 2 or 3 cars packed. Why not run a few more cars but discount fares based on availability? The seats would fill up and the extra revenue from discounted fares should at least break even on the cost of carrying those passengers.

I won't even get started on their abandonment of downtown stations, throwing away one of the key selling points of rail travel.

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