MONTREAL — VIA Rail is restarting operations in Western Canada with service on the Winnipeg – Vancouver route effective Dec. 11.
The gradual return to service in Western Canada will mean one weekly roundtrip on this portion of VIA’s iconic Canadian route. The Canadian typically offers service between Vancouver and Toronto.
In making this decision VIA Rail says it undertook a thorough evaluation of its health and safety protocols, including physical distancing measures, enhanced air ventilation systems, and improved measures for passenger access and the protection of its employees.
“The health and safety of passengers and our employees remains our top priority. We are offering our customers in Western Canada an additional choice in regions where intercity transportation is more limited as a result of this pandemic,” says VIA Rail President and CEO, Cynthia Garneau.
VIA Rail deploys a strict protocol of sanitary measures on board its trains, in its stations, maintenance centres and call centres to deal with the pandemic and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Garneau says VIA Rail’s teams continue to apply the latest health and safety guidelines and are evaluating VIA Rail’s overall service offering in the context of the pandemic, and in the event of major changes related to the health crisis, VIA Rail will revise its service offering in line with the latest developments.
VIA Rail is committed to a full recovery of its long-distance service for Western Canada, the Canadian, providing service between Toronto-Vancouver, and will continue to work closely with public health authorities as well as the federal and provincial governments to ensure this occurs as quickly as possible, she added.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS
All VIA Rail passengers with reservations affected by this progressive resumption of service will be contacted and reimbursed automatically. To facilitate cancellations and refunds, VIA Rail has extended its cancellation policy to include all travel through Dec. 31, 2020, to allow passengers to cancel their upcoming reservations autonomously online at any time prior to departure and receive a full refund in addition to not incurring any service charges, regardless of when the ticket was purchased.
Customers can also contact the VIA Customer Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-888-VIA-RAIL (1-888-842-7245), TTY 1-800-268-9503 (hearing impaired). Due to the current situation related to COVID-19, the VIA Customer Centre is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday and it may take some time to speak with an agent due to a reduction in staff.
Wearing a mask is mandatory at all times in VIA Rail stations and onboard VIA Rail trains. For the health and safety of all passengers and employees, passengers who do not wear a mask during their trip will be required to disembark the train or will be refused entry upon boarding.
Passengers will be denied boarding our trains if they are experiencing symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or if they have been denied boarding for travel in the last 14 days due to medical reasons related to COVID-19.
The most recent updates are available on VIA Rail’s website.