Positive third quarter results for VIA Rail Canada
More passengers and higher revenues:
performance on track at VIA
Montreal - Judging by VIA’s positive third quarter results for the period from July 1 through September 30, summer 2011 was a popular time to see Canada by train.
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.
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 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.
To read VIA’s quarterly financial results, go to:
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada’s (www.viarail.ca) mandate is to provide efficient, more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective passenger transportation, in the country’s two official languages. Every week, VIA operates 503 intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network. Winner of the 2011 RAC Safety Award, VIA transports over four million passengers annually. The demand for VIA services is growing as travellers increasingly turn to train travel as a safe, hassle-free and environmentally responsible alternative to congested roads and airports. Since 2007, the Government has invested nearly 1 billion dollars in VIA in order to meet growing demand and transform Canada’s rail passenger service for the future. Follow the evolution of current projects at http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/capital-investment. Follow VIA on Twitter at twitter.com/via_rail. Visit VIA on Facebook at facebook.com/viarailcanada.
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