MONTREAL — It was a year of recovery for VIA Rail, with a year-over-year increase in ridership of 1.7 million passengers.According to the company’s 2022 financial statements, passenger revenues increased by $198.8 million (168.2%) compared to 2021, despite significant disruptions at the beginning of the year due to the pandemic. VIA attributes the uptick to an increase in frequencies and higher demand.
“2022 was a rebuilding year that demonstrated the enduring relevance and popularity of passenger rail service in Canada, a time in which VIA Rail was delighted to welcome back Canadians from across the country,” said Françoise Bertrand, Chairperson of the Board of Directors.
“With the setting up of VIA HFR-VIA TGF Inc., another critical step was taken toward improving passenger rail service between Quebec City and Toronto. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank the Government of Canada for its confidence in VIA Rail, especially as we continue to promote passenger rail service in Canada as the smarter way to travel,” he added.
VIA Rail rolled out its return to service in June 2022, and did so while achieving its best-ever safety record. It was awarded the 2022 Railway Association of Canada Safety Award, which recognized the company’s excellence in training and its state-of-the-art simulator facility in Toronto.
“2022 saw us forget ahead with leading-edge initiatives, leveraging VIA Rail’s culture of collaboration among our dedicated team to continue to build the passenger rail system that Canada needs and deserves,” added Bertrand. “As our trains returned in 2022, we were thrilled to welcome back our customers as their return is the true measure of the loyalty of Canadians to passenger rail in general and VIA Rail in particular.”
A MODERN FLEET
The rollout of VIA Rail’s new fleet of trains for the Quebec City-Windsor corridor reached a new critical milestone in 2022 when it welcomed its first passengers on board. The new trains are among the most accessible in the world, supporting barrier-free travel for all passengers and featuring more comfortable seats, braille and embossed signage and improved recycling options. Modern engines will also reduce emissions and can be converted to diesel-electric dual mode.
2022 also saw VIA Rail push ahead with the development of its new reservation system, set to launch later this year. The upgraded system will feature an intuitive process that will allow customers to book, change their seats and rebook to another date.
To read VIA Rail’s annual report go to https://media.viarail.ca/en/reports.