VIA Rail has released its latest Corporate Plan for the years 2016-2020. The document summarizes VIA’s current and most recent operations, costs, successes, and challenges. It also lays out the vision that VIA’s management has moving forward, which will of course be subject to the approval of funding from the federal government.
This Corporate Plan focuses heavily on the need for fleet renewal and dedicated track projects in the Corridor, but also discusses VIA’s services across the country, including those in the Maritimes.
The report is very clearly structured, so it’s relatively easy to find those sections pertaining to The Ocean.
One of the most pertinent comments is found on page 25:
“In 2012, the Ocean’s frequencies were cut from six to three, which deteriorated the financial performance of this service. The Ocean does not adequately serve local communities and VIA Rail is looking at options to introduce additional local, intercity service, while potentially cutting back on under-utilized long-haul trains in the off-peak.
Management of VIA Rail’s Eastern Region is currently investigating the possibility of initiating an eastern intercity corridor service within New Brunswick, which could coincide with a possible reduction of the Ocean to two frequencies a week during off-peak periods.”
This is consistent with what has already been made public about plans for regional services, though the notion of reducing the Ocean’s frequency further, even if only in the off-season, is troubling. TAA continues to emphasize the need for daily service on the Ocean, as low frequency does a poor job of serving the travelling public. Integration with new regional corridor services may provide improved service between some communities, but it may also effectively reduce the ability to connect beyond the eastern region, particularly if it results in reductions in the Ocean’s service.
You can read the full report HERE.