VIA Rail’s strategy to grow its Ocean service: Intermodality
On Wednesday, VIA Rail’s CEO Marc Laliberté addressed the Halifax Chamber of Commerce to discuss the company’s plans for the Maritimes and to address local concerns. Recently announced service adjustments do not reduce VIA Rail’s commitment to continue bringing tourists and economic activity to the area. We firmly believe that these adjustments coupled with the many upcoming service improvements, will reverse the declining trend in passenger traffic on the Ocean service.
Over the last 15 years, VIA Rail has lost close to 50% of its passengers on the Ocean service. As a result, we must transform our operation to better meet market demand. That is the only way we can balance travelers needs for affordable and convenient train service and, taxpayers ability to pay for what is, by definition, a government-funded operation.
Around the world, airlines, buses and trains, are now extending integrated transport options to include taxi, local bus transport, intercity motorcoach and even bicycles. So in order to better serve its customers and enhance the appeal of its service, VIA must adopt these new trends. The idea is to develop and implement seamless connections between very different but very complementary modes of passenger transport.
We are now playing an active role in facilitating intermodality between carriers. Since January 2010, VIA Rail has implemented one-stop shopping experiences for motorcoach connections from our trains to airports inMontrealandTorontoas well as from VIA Rail trains to GO regional trains inOntario. We’ve also recently signed an agreement with Air Transat.
Starting this Fall in the Atlantic region, VIA Rail will offer its web ticketing facilities, trains stations and other cross-promotional platforms to regional carriers in order to offer one-stop, integrated travel experiences to travelers. This strategy should appeal to those who currently use VIA Rail to travel withinNova ScotiaandNew Brunswick.
VIA Rail is transforming and making changes all over its network, to keep the train an attractive option for all Canadians. One of the ways we are going to succeed is by continuing to work with our partners in each region. We are teaming up with people who know the territory, the industry, the people and their needs and together we will achieve our mission as a national passenger rail service and as an important player in our communities.