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Modernization plan: VIA reaches a new milestone

June 29th 2012 by Yves Desjardins-Siciliano

In order to fulfil its mission and meet the needs of its customer base, while responsibly managing public resources, VIA Rail announced yesterday it was entering a new phase in its modernization plan. This exercise required considerable improvement of our operations, to further develop our inter-connectivity in cities and to update all aspects of customer experience through more sophisticated electronic services.

Thus, in order to make public investment in transportation profitable, adjustments to the frequency on some routes were made. VIA Rail wishes to clarify that no itineraries have been dropped and no route has been eliminated. However, beginning in summer 2012 and lasting through November (by region), the frequency on some routes will be reduced. That said, it is certain that some people’s daily lives will be affected by these changes but we are confident several options will be offered to our customers who are affected by these changes. In the current economic climate, this decision was essential to eliminate redundancy between public carriers and thus be able to focus our resources on routes where demand is strongest and constantly growing.

InCanada, in recent years, the daily transportation and tourism markets have changed. New players have been added in urban regions and are meeting the need for short-distance public transportation. But inter-connectivity also means being able to plan your trip by pooling inter-city resources with those specific to each urban area. And that is VIA’s goal: supporting you effectively in your travels.

As a public organization, we also have a mission to provide mandatory services and are accountable for managing public funds. This is why we are preserving VIA’s heritage mission by maintaining mandatory services in the regions where railway transportation remains the only option. We are making sure to stay focused on sound management where all routes are maintained while also taking the necessary steps to develop services where there is a clear need for growth.

Over the past two years, VIA has worked hard to improve its performance and the reliability of its services. Operating funding was reduced by 30 million dollars and the Corporation relies on a dedicated and talented team. Moreover, as part of its modernization plan, difficult decisions have been made. In fact, changes in frequencies and the use of new technologies will result in the elimination of around 200 full-time unionized positions, which is approximately 9% of our workforce. Although it is difficult to eliminate positions and see some of our colleagues leave us, the long-term effect will be positive for passenger rail.

VIA is proud to be able to count on such an incredible team of dedicated and talented employees. Thanks to this team, VIA will continue to make significant improvements to its passenger rail services for both customers and taxpayers.

About Yves Desjardins-Siciliano

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano
Yves Desjardins-Siciliano was appointed President and CEO of VIA Rail in May, 2014. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano was the Corporation's Chief Corporate & Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. He has over 30 years’ experience in legal, regulatory and government relations, business and corporate development, marketing communications and finance. Past President of the Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Division, Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano was also Chief of Staff to the federal Minister of Labour and Minister of State for Transport from 1989 to 1991.
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