The more human way to travel

A couple days before he questioned Christy Clark, Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber wrote about a train trip he took and questioned VIA’s value as a publicly funded service.

All of which raises a question as to why Canadian taxpayers are subsidizing a rail service that so few Canadians, especially in Western Canada, ever use.  And why would we, when it takes longer and costs more than comparable commercial travel?? In the more densely populated central Canadian corridor (Windsor-Quebec City), the train is actually quite popular and with enough customers, presumably could be operated without taxpayer subsidy.

However, so few people are using the VIA service from Toronto-Vancouver that it was recently announced that the service was being cut back from three to two times per week in each direction.  This announcement went so unnoticed that our MP office received not a single call or e-mail complaining about this service reduction.  If VIA disappeared all together in Western Canada, would anybody even notice??   If VIA Rail Canada really is “A More Human Way to Travel”, why are so few humans actually travelling via VIA??  And is this good value for the Canadian taxpayer??




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The more human way to travel

  1. Most modern countries have high-speed rail. Mag-lev etc

    It’s what the Quebec City-Windsor corridor wants and needs.

    If Mr Rathgeber chooses to remain with ‘horsepower’ it’s up to him.

    • Go back and reread the article.
      Rathberger said the passenger train makes sense in the relatively densely populated central Canada, but not in the West.
      And try to stay on topic.

      • It makes sense everywhere, he’s just backwards. Not to mention cheap in that he wants to eliminate it for others.

        And mind your manners.

        • I would love to take the train but the expense and poor timings do not make it convenient for most people in the prairies. Now the nation could pour billions into refurbishing the abandoned right-of-ways throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta but it does not make economic sense.

          • Well you know….we could actually learn how to run a railroad in this country. Or have we forgotten how to do that too?

  2. LOL

    This kind of talk is clearly a threat to Confederation.

  3. One time my mother and I took the train from Edmonton to Vancouver. It was an overnight service. We did not have a berth. At nightime my mother asked about getting a pillow and the steward said there weren’t any. My mother showed him a brochure that had pictures of stewards handing out pillows to happy VIA customers at bedtime. He replied, “that must be the line between Toronto and Montreal.” We cashed in our train tickets in Vancouver and flew back to Edmonton.

    • And I’m sure you’ve hugged that victim story to your heart ever since, as evidence of eastern evil.

    • I rode coach from Halifax to Montreal once. And once only. You really need a berth for such a long haul to be comfortable, unless you enjoy staying awake all night. My problem wasn’t a lack of pillows, but a collection of screaming children (which I can’t really blame VIA for…the same thing happens on planes, just over a shorter time frame).

    • And what year did this occur?

  4. Shorter Rathberger: “What have the rails ever done for Western Canada?”.

    I lol’d. The fact that he didn’t temper his comments with a nod to the history of the railway in Western Canada makes me wonder if he knows anything about the history of this nation. Or any nation, for that matter.

  5. A more human way to travel? Ya right. VIA Rail is a disgrace and is one of the most horrible price rip offs I have ever come across.

    Want to know why no one is taking the train from Toronto to Vancouver? 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.

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