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Positive Third Quarter results for VIA Rail Canada

Positive Third Quarter results for VIA Rail Canada

Increased ridership
On both long distance services and within the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, the peak travel season saw an increasing number of Canadian and international travellers boarding VIA. Total passenger-miles for the quarter were 258 million, an increase of 1.9% compared to Q3 2010. Total passenger-miles year-to-date were 648 million, up some 1.5% over the first nine months of the previous year.

Higher revenues
Revenues for the quarter were $83.7 million, up 5.2% compared to the same quarter in 2010. Year-to-date revenues were $214.5 million, better by 5.3% compared to last year. In particular, the Canadian - VIA’s flagship train in the West - performed incredibly well, surpassing not only the service’s solid performance in summer 2010, but expectations as well. VIA’s Eastern long-distance service, the Ocean, and trains in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor also showed strong summer results.

Operating costs
Operating expenses for the quarter, before amortization of deferred capital funding and corporate tax expense, rose by 4.6%, mainly due to timing differences compared to the same quarter in 2010. On a cumulative basis, operating expenses rose by 1.9%. After nine months completed this year, VIA improved its operating loss, before government funding and corporate taxes, by more than $2M, as a result of continued management focus on cost control and increased efficiency.

Better on-time performance
More passengers arrived at their destination on time this summer. It’s no coincidence that on-time performance reached 83% during this period, better by six percentage points compared to the same period past year; operations, performance, reliability and on-time performance remained the primary focus of a number of management initiatives during the third quarter.

“In addition to our focus on operational excellence, we realize that travel is about more than arriving at the destination - it’s an overall experience. To that end, we pursued our commitment to increase travellers’ mobility with more connections between VIA and other transportation providers and ease of trip planning from A to Z, right on our Web site. We also significantly increased the capacity of our Wi-Fi service on board our trains, underscoring VIA’s leadership in this area. In Q3 we also continued to seek out new ways to communicate with our customers through social media channels. VIA’s Facebook fanbase increased 14 percent, while the number of Twitter followers grew by 18 percent. These are other ways in which VIA is transforming itself,” declared President and CEO Marc Laliberté.


“There is no question that passenger rail has an important role to play in Canada’s future. Since 1990, our ridership has grown steadily, and revenues have almost doubled. During the same period, VIA’s cost recovery has improved by 79 percent - from 29 cents to 52 cents of revenue per dollar of operating expenses. With the Canadian government’s $923 million investment - the largest infusion of capital in VIA’s history - VIA is working to meet the growing demand, and to transform Canada’s passenger rail service for the future,” concluded Mr. Laliberté.


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