Ottawa may privatize part of VIA Rail

Company registered $261 million in operating losses in 2010


Ottawa is mulling selling off parts of VIA Rail or cutting routes in attempt to cut costs, Bloomberg reports. According to a a briefing note prepared for Transport Minister Denis Lebel, the ministry is “assessing several options for future support for passenger-rail services,” including service reductions, writes Bloomberg, which obtained the documents through a freedom of information request. The government-owned passenger rail “regularly requires additional funding to cover operating shortfalls,” the briefing notes. The document added that “Privatization and public sector partnerships in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor are being assessed.” In 2010 VIA recorded operating losses of $261 million, according to the latest available annual report.


Filed under:

Ottawa may privatize part of VIA Rail

  1. Pretty sad when Canadian’s have to rely on “Bloomberg”, a New York City based news agency to break a Canadian news story. Where are your reporters MacLean’s!

  2. I took the train once from Edmonton to Vancouver.  Almost everyone I met was riding for free…they were all family members of retired CN workers who at that time apparently got free trips.  I am not sure if that is still the policy but it might explain the financial shortfalls.

    • What year was that?

      • The year of the expo in Vancouver…1986?

  3. Via  suffers from poor schedules due to interference from freight trains, low speeds due to poor track maintenance and signaling by railways, poor routings due to track abandonments allowed by previous governments of all stripes, high fares, low frequencies and low frequencies. Governments over time have made Via service as unreliable and inconvenient as possible so that it becomes more and more irrelevant to more and more Canadians and thereby making it easier to chop Via out of existence.

    • There are those really classy Via trips through the mountains for “high rollers”.  I think they are quite popular.

    • $1160 for a VIA economy class ticket from Toronto to Vancouver. Criminal!

  4. VIA Rail is a disgrace and is one of the most horrible price rip offs I have ever come across.

    I checked a VIA fare from Toronto Union to Vancouver Pacific Central Station. For bare bones coach car economy class the fare was $1160 tax in. Yes you read that correctly $1160 tax in. You can find cheaper flights than that seeing as I flew round trip to Vancouver a month ago for $980 tax in. This summer I took Amtrak from Toronto Union Station to Reno Nevada and it only cost me $470 tax in and I had a private room! A mere $257 if I chose to travel economy. Pretty much the same distance and length of journey that it is to Vancouver.

    Don’t privatize VIA. SHUT IT DOWN. I am sick and tired of subsidizing that union run money sucking pit of spending that turns around and charges outrageous and unaffordable fares. All involved should be ashamed of themselves. I took VIA from Toronto to Edmonton years ago and only paid $345. Somebody needs to explain. Taxpayers are being taken for a ride and its not on a train.

Sign in to comment.