August 26, 2016 — Applause for Senator Bob Runciman’s open letter on inadequate VIA service

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Applause for Senator Bob Runciman’s open letter on inadequate VIA service

ST. MARYS, ONTARIO – In an open letter to VIA Rail’s CEO, Senator Bob Runciman of Brockville, Ontario, called the publicly-owned railway to account for its inadequate service to intermediate communities in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor and its outrageously high fares.

“We agree wholeheartedly with what Senator Runciman has said in his letter to VIA,” says Chris West of the All Aboard St. Marys citizens’ committee. “We have the same situation here in Southwestern Ontario, where VIA operates many trains through communities such as Glencoe, Ingersoll and Woodstock without stopping because it imagines itself to be a chichi high-speed service catering only to the major end points. Heaven forbid that VIA should concede it isn’t time competitive on the full length of many routes and its real market is serving and linking the intermediate communities with each other and the larger terminal cities.

“Bypassing communities to save a few minutes on already overlong schedules strikes us as the height of business folly and a fine way to disenfranchise millions of citizens who pay for this deteriorating rail passenger service.”

Senator Runciman’s open letter to VIA may be found on his website at: letter to Via Rail.pdf

Also of interest is the coverage of Senator Runciman’s concerns in his hometown newspaper, the Brockville Recorder, which includes a response from a VIA public affairs staffer:

BOX 1197 449 QUEEN STREET WEST ST. MARYS, ONTARIO N4X 1B7 TELEPHONE (519) 284-3310 FACSIMILE (519) 284-3160

Says West, “When a Senator is moved to speak out against this continuing insensitivity by VIA management to the real needs of Canadians and their communities, then we say this is proof the people’s railway is on a course that is destructive and may be irreversible if not soon checked. A feel-good response from a public affairs functionary – not the CEO – about how our Crown railway is conducting yet more studies is grossly inadequate.

“This is but the tip of the growing mountain of VIA problems. We’re distressed by the fact that we’re still not seeing any action by our federal or provincial government. If they’re truly committed to battling climate change, they can prove it by fixing what is the safest and most energy efficient form of intercity transportation.”

All Aboard St. Marys campaign coordinator Greg Gormick has been in touch with Senator Runciman about this situation, as well as Senator Art Eggleton, both of whom sit on the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications. From 1989 to 1991, Gormick served as transportation policy adviser to Toronto City Council and then-Mayor Eggleton, who led the fight by municipal governments against the arbitrary hacking away of half of the VIA system by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s government.

“We look forward to exploring this issue further with Senators Runciman and Eggleton,” says West. “We have also brought it to the attention of all the members of that Parliamentary committee, which possesses broad investigative powers.”

For more information, please contact:

Chris West,
All Aboard St. Marys [email protected]
Tel: 519 284 3310
Fax: 519 284 3160
Sans frais/toll free 1-866-8632 ext 238


BOX 1197 449 QUEEN STREET WEST ST. MARYS, ONTARIO N4X 1B7 TELEPHONE (519) 284-3310 FACSIMILE (519) 284-3160

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