January 10, 2023 3:37pm
VIA rail released a statement Tuesday about the travel delays and train cancellations passengers faced between December 23 and December 26.
The President and Chief Executive Officer at VIA Rail Canada said a severe winter storm along with the derailment of a freight train disrupted VIA Rail’s operations during that time. Martin R Landry said it lead to canceled and delayed trains, particularly along the Québec City–Windsor corridor and elsewhere in Eastern Canada.
He apologized for not meeting passenger’s expectations.
“We appreciate that passengers were looking forward to holiday celebrations and family get-togethers, and we regret that for many, those plans were disrupted. We didn’t meet your expectations and for that we apologize,” said Landry
“The daily mission of our 3,200 employees is to put passengers first, and we are committed to providing Canadians with a train service that meets their expectations. While we take pride in the fact that the safety and well-being of our passengers and our staff was always our priority and front and centre in our decision-making, we also believe that we should have done better in dealing with the situation. We are truly sorry for letting our passengers down,” he added.
Landry admitted VIA should have been better at sharing information.
“We know, we should have been more forthcoming in sharing information about trains that were delayed and in communicating updates. We also know we should have adopted a different approach in supporting passengers on trains that were delayed for lengthy periods,” he continued.
He said VIA is offering a full refund to passengers, and travel credits for those whose trains were immobilized.
Landry added VIA will review its performance, and bring in outside experts to help. He said they will consider a wide range of issues including planning for the storm, operational response, protocol around customer care and overall communications.
“Beyond not having met the expectations of our customers, we have not lived up to our own standards. Despite weather events and a freight train derailment beyond our control, it is clear that lessons will be learned, and changes will be made. We truly hope the passengers who were affected by these disruptions will travel with us again soon so we can show them what VIA Rail is all about: Offering a safe, accessible, comfortable, and sustainable travel experience and a remarkable service for which we are known and loved,” he concluded.