2017 Annual Public Meeting

2017 Annual Public Meeting


[Splatting sound of Ketchup] Why do always put ketchup on everything? Why don’t you take the train? [Splatting sound of Ketchup] [Train whistle] Grand-maman! Pourquoi tu triches tout le temps? Pourquoi tu prends pas le train? [Sifflet de train] [Musique érotique] [Prise de photo] Pourquoi tu prends tout le temps des selfies? Pourquoi tu prends pas le train? [Prise de photo] [Sifflet de train] [Musique classique] J’ai grandi dans une famille accueillante. La porte était débarrée. Dès que quelqu’un avait faim, que ce soit n’importe qui, ma mère les invitait à rentre Puis, quand je vois des touristes ou des gens qui arrivent ici à Montréal, je veux les recevoir comme il faut! Donc, quand je prends le billet de train et je vois que c’est un nom étranger… Je leurs demandes de quel pays y viennent. Et à ce comment-là, je leur remercie dans leur langue Le sourire des gens… ils me regardent et disent… Wow! Vous parlez la langue?! Je dis «Non, non, non.
J’ai appris à dire «merci» dans 134 langues». Je suis rendu là. Vous voulez m’essayer? En Allemand, on dit
«Danke schön» Puis les Breton vont dit
«Trugarez» En Mandarin, ils vont dire ‘«XieXié», mais les Cantonais vont dire « Duoxiè». En Congo, on peut dire «Aksanti», «Matondo», «Melisa», et «Tuasakidila». Les Danois disent
«Tak» Dans le Caucase, c’est
«Madloba» «Mille grazie»
in Italiano En Inuk
«Nakurmik» En Maori, on dit
«Tena Koutou» Pensez-vous je pourrais être dans le livre des records Guinness? J’aimerais ça le travailler.
Aidez-moi! [Rires] [Bruitages de vent] [MUSIQUE] [Musique] [Musique flût à bec] [Bruitages de vent] [Mouton qui bêle] [Bruitages de vent] [Splatting sound of Ketchup] Why do always put ketchup on everything? Why don’t you take the train? [Splatting sound of Ketchup] [Train whistle] [Musique classique] Grand-maman! Pourquoi tu triches tout le temps? Pourquoi tu prends pas le train? [Sifflet de train] [Musique érotique] [Prise de photo] Pourquoi tu prends toujours des selfies? Pourquoi tu prends pas le train? [Prise de photo] [Sifflet de train] [Musique classique] J’ai grandi dans une famille accueillante. La porte était débarrée. Dès que quelqu’un avait faim, que ce soit n’importe qui, ma mère les invitait à rentre Puis, quand je vois des touristes ou des gens qui arrivent ici à Montréal, je veux les recevoir comme il faut! Donc, quand je prends le billet de train et je vois que c’est un nom étranger… Je leurs demandes de quel pays y viennent. Et à ce comment-là, je leur remercie dans leur langue Le sourire des gens… ils me regardent et disent… Wow! Vous parlez la langue?! Je dis ”Non, non, non. J’ai appris à dire merci dans 134 langues…que je suis rendu là.” Vous voulez m’essayer? En Allemand, on dit
”Danke schön” Puis en Breton, on dit
”Trugarez” En Mandarin, on dit ” XieXié” et les Chantonais vont dire ” Duoxiè.” En Congo, on peut dire ”Aksanti,” ”Matondo,” ”Melisa,” et ”Tuasakidila.” Les Danois disent
”Tak” Dans le Caucase
”Madloba” ”Mille grazie”
Italiano Un inuit
” Nakurmiik” En Maori, on dit
”Tena Koutou” Pensez-vous je pourrais être dans le livre des records Guinness? J’aimerais ça le travailler. Aidez-moi! [Rires] Bonjour, good afternoon and welcome
to VIA Rail’s Annual Public Meeting Webcast. My name is Jean-François Legault, and I’m the Chief Legal & Risk Officer and Corporate Secretary of VIA Rail Canada,
and I will be your host this afternoon. Pour une 5e année consécutive, nous tenons cette rencontre sous forme de
webdiffusion dans le but de communiquer avec le plus grand nombre
possible de Canadiens. Pour la première fois cette année, nous sommes heureux de vous annoncer que la webdiffusion est traduite de manière
simultanée et qu’elle peut être regardée entièrement en anglais ou en français. Pour choisir votre langue, veuillez cliquer sur l’icône d’écouteurs. For the first time this year this webcast
can be watched in either English or
French. Please click on the headphone icon to choose your language. Over the next hour, you will be hearing from Françoise Bertrand, our newly appointed Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, our President and CEO, and Patricia Jasmin, our Chief Financial Officer. We will be reviewing the financial results from 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, and will also discuss the many initiatives launched by the Corporation in the past year. Following the speeches, there will be a question and answer period. In response to the survey feedback
provided after last year’s webcast, we
are increasing the amount of time allocated to answer your questions. Pour toutes questions concernant VIA Rail, écrivez-nous à [email protected] ou sur Twitter en utilisant le
mot-clic hashtag VIA Rail. Nous n’arriverons pas à répondre à toutes vos questions pour la prochaine heure, mais un document de questions-réponses sera publié sur le site web d’ici les prochaines semaines, et cette webdiffusion sera publiée sur la chaîne
YouTube de Via Rail demain. I’d now like to introduce our first speaker, Françoise Bertrand, our Chairperson of
the Board of Directors. Mme Bertrand. [Silence] Bonjour, good afternoon. Merci de prendre le temps de vous joindre à nous aujourd’hui. Je suis heureuse et fière d’être ici afin de
représenter le Conseil d’administration de
VIA Rail Canada dans le cadre de son
Assemblée publique annuelle. This is my first Annual Public Meeting as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of VIA Rail, and it is an honour to be joining the ranks of this Canadian institution. Public services in Canada such as the
train are imperative to a healthy economy and to connecting the communities across our vast country. As Chairperson, and as a proud Canadian, I will do my best to represent the public’s best interests and to help VIA Rail evolve further as part
of Canada’s sustainable future. VIA Rail est ancrée dans la tradition
canadienne depuis maintenant plus de
40 ans Transportant près de 4 millions de personnes vers des centaines de
communautés situées à travers le Canada, nos trains soutiennent le développement socioéconomique du pays, et présentent un moyen sécuritaire,
accessible et écologique pour les
voyageurs de tous âges souhaitant se déplacer et découvrir notre pays. Cette année plus que jamais,alors que nous célébrons le 15e anniversaire
de la confédération canadienne, l’importance du rôle joué par le transport ferroviaire de passagers dans le
développement de communautés, d’un océan à l’autre, nous est rappelée. La promesse d’un chemin de fer transcontinental fut en effet déterminante dans la construction de notre pays, et VIA Rail est fière de continuer d’œuvrer à cet effort d’unification nationale. This is an especially exciting time to be coming on board. Three years ago, VIA Rail shifted its strategy to focus on the customer, and since then the Corporation has seen remarkable growth. Both revenues and ridership have been steadily increasing. You’ll hear more details about last
year’s results soon, but it’s clear that this strategy has been incredibly successful, with passengers and customer satisfaction also increasing over this period. Maybe the best reason for the this growth can be found in the significant increase in
employee engagement. In Budget 2017, the Government of Canada allocated $867.3 million to
finance VIA Rail’s operations and capital requirements for the next three years. Combined with additional funding that has already been confirmed, this represents over $1.3 billion of investment in our company. As VIA Rail is dedicated to being part of
Canada’s sustainable transportation system, we were thrilled to receive this funding and we are encouraged
by the Government’s trust in and commitment towards VIA Rail. Over the next five years, in collaboration with the Government of Canada and VIA Rail’s employees, I plan to help this company continue
to play a leading role in the Canadian inter-city transportation system. I will prioritize sustainable mobility to make VIA Rail not only more environmental, but also smarter, more inclusive, and a contributor to the mobility of sustainable cities and communities in Canada. I will also continue our strategy to
increase ridership while fulfilling VIA Rail’s mandate to provide a safe, efficient, affordable and accessible passenger transportation service for all Canadians. In closing, I want to offer my sincerest congratulations to everyone who
contributed to VIA Rail’s success last year, from our passengers to our exceptional VIA Rail employees who always go the extra mile. I would also like to thank the Board of
Directors for their hard work and dedication, especially Jane Mowat who led the Board for the past 13 months. Je me réjouis de travailler avec vous tous
à faire de 2017 une autre année marquée par le succès. Un grand merci. [Silence] [Music] Bonjour, mon nom est Yves Desjardins-Siciliano et j’ai le grand honneur d’être le Président et chef de la direction de Via Rail Canada It’s my third year of welcoming you at this annual public meeting and again I have great news. Both looking back to 2016 and looking forward to 2017 in the years to come. Starting with 2016 the results continue to be phenomenal. In fact, in 2016, once again, the revenues and rideship from Via Rial continued to grow. It’s been three consecutive years that we have growth in our company. We have become part of the trend of public transport, which is becoming more and more popular and helped by a generational change where 25% of Canadians will be 65 year old and more and a new generation with a greener heart will choose a public transportation of which we are an essential part in intercity transport. The move is on. More and more Canadians, whether they’re older or younger, are choosing public transport especially to move
beyond our cities across this vast country. People always ask me how do you
explain such growth, month after month,quarter after quarter, year after year, I only have one answer. Our employees! Over the past 12 months our employee engagement survey has shown that the engagement of our employees has grown 6% The previous year you’ll recall that growth was 5%. Over the last 2 years, The growth and engagement is totaling 11%. It is through this engagement that each employee, whether it’s in the maintenance centers and on the phones who every day do the best to offer customers and excel excellent experience That can explain the growth of our revenue and of our ridership. And so on behalf of all our passengers and all the colleagues I would first like to thanks these employees for their dedication. Of course all our passengers are showing their love as well by coming more often to our trains and recognizing the true value of our
services. But before going any further, let’s talk about 2017. As a proud Canadian, I’m proud to be the CEO of a such a great institution in the year that Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary. Tomorrow in Montreal, I’ll be hosting a meeting with colleagues from the International European Union of rail roads. And obviously for them, 150 years is a very young country and a very young company indeed. But for us, it’s a opportunity to show the world, what the world already knows. The world knows no boundary when it comes to its need for a place like Canada. And in this country, we built a passenger railway that united us for the very beginning of our confederation and whitch today will bring alot of our citizen to develop a feeling of belonging and even a greater feeling of belonging for this country. That’s why with a lot of proud, we’ve decorated our stations and our trains in order to remind all Canadians that we are privilaged to be Canadians we are privileged to live in such a great, such a prosperous and such a safe country and a country that respect diversity and its personnal wealth. What’s why throughout the year, we’ve created partnerships were we commit to supporting all kinds of different initiatives to celebrate Canada from Halifax to Vancouver and one of this most remarkable initiative is the Canadian 150 youth pass. Happily or sadly, that we introduce the Canada 150 youth pass that has such great demand that it crushed all the systems at Via whether it’s the phone systems or the computer systems So we had a very tough 24 hours, recovering from the great idea and making sure that we could answer the demande and although we had plan to only sell 1867 of those passes to celebrate Canada’s founding year, we ended up selling over 4200. and so we all rejoice, in a good idea gone bad knowing that 4200 young Canadians are about to embark on a journey of the month of july to make new memories by which they will remember where they were in 2017 and thanks to the product, we can count on a new generation of Canadians who will discover the train and who will discover how we can and why we can be proud of being Canadian. In 2016, many improvements were brought about We’ve changed some elements of our uniforms to make them brighter and easier for passengers to spot employees especially for very busy stations. We also modified our meals in economy class as well as the business class. And finally we launged a series of improvements in the station to make them greener, more accessible and more user friendly. We have also added more frequencies on our most popular services between
Quebec, Montreal and Ottawa corridor. We went from 10 to 40 frequencies per week for this new link through Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec and the result was immediate. More than 17% increase in growth in ridership by linking Ottawa and Quebec trough Montreal in one direct service and reducing the time to destination by one hour, we’ve created 17% more passengers for that service. Adding frequencies builds ridership between Toronto and Ottawa we also added frequencies going to 97 to 104 frequency a week and again the ridership went up by over 10% and again the messages, rideship is totally dependent on frequencies The more we add frequencies, the more ridership increases. Why? Because frequencies are the main reason why people do not take the train and choose their car, which is always available . If it is almost as available as
their car. And the only way to make a train as available or as close to be available as your car is by adding frequencies. And so we’ve demonstrated, again last year, that adding frequencies will drive growth in ridership. We also, last year, marked our spot in the globol challenge of climate change. We published our sustainable mobility report, where we make are commitments which regards the 17 commitments that nations all over the world have made. Whether it regards to creating a sustainable planet where we attempt at by reducing our carbon footprint by
enhancing ourself as an employer by reducing the carbon footprint of travellers in Canada It’s through this commitments in a sustainable mobility report, that we trust that Via Rail can increase its relevance and its contribution
in improving Canada’s social, economic and environmental footprint. and humbly its contribution to the future
of the planet. Well, the resulat are just the same as 2016; Growth of revenue, and growth of ridership that continues despite untight performance that it’s still below our standards of 85% plus, at 77%. We are continuing to see more people coming to our train for a longer journeys and that is why revenue continues to increase beyond ridership growth. The first quarter is just positif as 2016. Let’s look forward. Since 2012 under the leadership of the predecessor Mister Marc Laliberté, we started an intermodal strategy with many partners with whom we offers combined services ; plane, bus, train from the maritimes all the way to western Canada In 2014, we’ve grown our service offering by focusing on the client, as the President said, by simplifying services by making
services more available, more flexible by increasing accessibility to our stations and to our trains and by offering a service when people feel, not only welcome, but well treated which has them come back to ride on our trains. Our next challenges are twofold, first and foremost interoperability. At a time when Canada is growing in terms of passenger rail services, it is important for providers to get together in order to maximize the use of this rail resources so this young country has the opportunity of going downtown to downtown. We are the envious all country in the world, by being such a young country we had the opportunity from Washington to Montreal to Vancouver to establish our rail stations in the heart of downtown areas at a time when many of us used this effectiveness through this sharing of these infrastructures with different stakeholders. Interoperability is the norm in
countries such as Japan where frequencies and speed is the heart
of passenger rail services It’s also the habit of train operators all over Europe. North America is time to get on with it and maximize the value of the rare footprints that rail infrastructure have in the heart of downtown by sharing those infrastructures So that is a task that we are on. What regards to our second initiative, the high frequency project of Via. Many of you have heard about the high frequency train which will link the main cities of Quebec, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto and the cities between these different urban centers thought our rail service exclusively dedicated to Via Rail passengers or passengers from other different services But only passengers services this was submitted to the federal government in December and the government is analyzing the project as we speak and I hope we will get a very positive response soon. The second aspect is the renewal of the fleet used in the corridor of Quebec Windsor. The fleet is the oldest in North America The major work horse in the Quebec-
Windsor corridor is a fleet that was built in the 1800s and therefore needs to be replaced we’ve submitted our proposal for that remplacement to the government at the
end of 2016 and we also hoping for good news in these regard, sometime later, this year. With this new fleet that can run on a dedicated corridor, we believe will be able to triple the ridership of Via Rail by being more useful, more relevant, to more Canadians. We also be able to attract investment, because this service will now become profitable just by the share number of passengers. But now that we have a plan for the short term it’s time to look to the future on a longer term view. And it’s why we’ve developed destination
2025 . We will then start looking at the future of electric cars car, sharing,
driverless cars, regional trains intercity and municipal interoperable
transportation, to try to create the future. Only after 35 years as being an
executive in many companies, is as hard as we can try, the future is always
better than our wildest dream. For that future to happen, you got to start
by having a dream. So we are charting that course today to destination 2025 and over the next few months we will be sharing that with all of you as we
unfold how we will make our services better connected more personalized to
you the traveler more collaborative with our partners and our own employees and
ultimately socially, economically, environmentally, more sustainable for a
better Canada. Thank you very much for Merci de votre attention. Thank you for your attention and I will come back later for
the question and answer period [Music] Between now and 2025, there’s many many
things that are going to be changing drastically. As a corporation, we need to
be able to adapt and anticipate our passengers needs to meet the needs of
2025 therefore we need to be forward-thinking. So we have to create an
environment and that is the challenge that we have is to create an environment
where everyone feels free to have an idea to voice a concern to voice an
opinion because he or she believes that we’re all in this together. [Music] The outcome of today’s brainstorm would
be an opportunity for people to let go and start dreaming again. Il faut prendre le temps de
s’intéresser à nos clients, parce qu’on est l’ultimement,nous-même, des clients
des services de transport. Donc, il faut comprendre ce qu’on voudrait recevoir comme service. Puis l’innovation c’est être à l’affût des possibilités de comment
améliorer les choses [Music] Ce qui me rend fière de Via 2020-25, en fait, c’est qu’on en a fait un processus qui est inclusif. On est allé voir chacune des unités d’affaires. On a eu des discussions avec eux, et vraiment, le résultat qu’on va produire comme vision, reflet l’ensemble des gens à l’intérieur de la corporation de Via Rail. Alors, ce qu’on va déterminer c’est les grands axes de notre vision ce que Via Rail veut se retrouver dans l’écosystème en 2020-25. Via Rail doit devenir une entreprise vraiment axée sur le client. C’est vraiment ça ma plus grande aspiration. Le fait qu’on vous transport dans un train du point A au point B c’est comment on fait ce qu’on fait mais ce qu’on fait vraiment, c’est donner une expérience de vie, à travers le transport, qui est unique, qui est la meilleure, et qui est fait, non seulement, vous vous sentez le bienvenue mais parce que vous vous sentez bien traité, que vous revenez plus souvent. [Music] [Silence] Hello my name is Patricia Jasmin
and I am a Via Rails Chief Financial officer. I’m pleased to share with you
the financial results for 2016 another successful year for Via. To those of 2015,
this year again, this increase was a result of capacity adjustment to better
aligned with customer demand and of price adjustment to reflect market value.
In addition, we have made some modification to our schedule to better
answer customer needs. Overall Via Rails revenues for 2016, amounted to $324M. This includes
passenger revenues of just over $301M plus $23M in revenues from rails stations and third-parties. The increase in revenue was due to an improved service offering
including the addition of capacity in the Eastern corridor and in the Canadian
prestige class, to changes to our train schedules and aggressive marketing
campaigns, including Award-winning campaigns, «The joy of winter traveling»,
launched in the winter of 2016 and «Why don’t you take the tain?», launched last far fall. Our operating expenses were $554M, an increase of 6.6% compared to 2015. This increase is due to the departures
we’ve added to the Eastern corridor and the increased capacity in the
prestige class and the amounts invested in two key initiatives, the project to
renew our fleet and the dedicated tracks project. In 2016 the operation
lost, before contributions to employee pensions plan and employee benefits, was $230M. A slight increase of 3.6% from previous year’s. Contributions to our
pension and employee benefit plans totaled $37M in 2016 compared to $58M in 2015. This is mainly due to the fact that the
financial position of our pension plans have once again improved this year which
resulted in a reduction in the amount of contributions to be paid out. This
decrease in spending allowed us to reduce government spending to $267M nearly $30M less than the previous year. In
2016, the government subsidy represented 45% of our total operating
expenses, an improvement of 3% points from 2015. Which means
that once against, this year, Via Rail has reduced its dependency on non taxpayers
money and we’re very happy to have reached it again this year. Now when it
comes to capital investments, Via has invested $91M in our
assets in order to improve services to our passengers. Most of these investments
were made in the following projects: $27M for major infrastructure
projects, primarily for the infrastructure between Montreal and Ottawa, $18M for information technology projects, such as our customer relationship management system, improvements to our
booking system, automation of services on our trains and compliance with payment
cards industry standards. And finally $14M for the upgrade of our
fleets. The momentum, which was launched in 2014 and continued in 2015 was as we expected, even stronger in 2016. While we wait for the government decision on our two major proposed projects, the fleet renewel and dedicated track, Via will continue its transformation to become a
sustainable personalized and connected organization. The additional funding
received by the government, in the last federal budget, will allow us to complete this transformation. Merci.
Thank you . [Music] Moi, j’apporte ma laine.
J’aime la tricoter. I’m the sort pf type to talk to the person next to me. Une paire de pantoufles dans un aller-retour. I’m sure that person has enough stories to fill the time. Quand je peux, en train, lire un livre qui m’amène dans un autre voyage, c’est le bonheur total. En ce moment, je suis sur SnapChat. It used to be sleeping. Cheese! [Laughts] [Music] I’m reading a book on Buddhism. Un livre en français parce que je voyage à Québec. It’s actually calledactually called ”The Buddha Walks into a Bar.” Un théologien russe, Vladimir Soloviev. I actually work, because now I’m productive. What do you like to do on the train? Bounce, and jump and run. That’s not a train activity though. [Music] [Silence] Thank you Mme Jasmin for this summary results. In the last few months, we have received questions from the public. This year, the feedback has been
unprecedented. In fact as of this morning, we had received almost 600 questions. We
are thrilled that so many Canadians are interested in Via Rail. Many of these
questions were on similar themes and so we have organized them into top 10
topics. I would like to invite our President
to discuss the top 10 subjects that are of interest to you. Thank you Jean-François! So here are the top 10 popular topics from close to 600 questions received to date. In no particular order, the first question is When will we have Wi-Fi on the Canadian that goes from Toronto to Vancouver ? Well as you can suspect, the journey between Toronto and Vancouver goes through a lot of wooded
areas, and many of which don’t have cellular coverage. As Via Rails Wi-Fi service is
dependent on the availability of Wi-Fi coverage, until today, it had been decided
not to provide Wi-Fi on board of the Canadian. But thanks to overwhelming
demand and our commitment to ensure that the passenger experience is always
enhanced. I am pleased to announce that we will be providing a Wi-Fi connection
on the Canadian over there coming months. Obviously some part of the journey, the
service will not be available, as there is no cellular coverage.
We will provide enough information for passengers to let them know where coverage is available in extended metropolitan areas, and how they can enjoy connectivity and
when they prefer privacy not be connected on the Wi-Fi service. Next question.
What about services to Gaspé? This service was interrupted because of
instructor updates. So we were asked, when
we will bring Via Rail services back to Gaspé. Many of you know that the government of Quebec have announced an investment of
more than $100M in this infrastructure, to update it for
merchandise services that are so important to the economic development of
the Gaspé region. As soon as these investments are finished in two or three
years, we will proceed to an inspection of the rail infrastructure and if it is
safe, we will bring back passenger services. Let’s be clear that our
intention has always been to serve the wonderful region of Gaspé that offers
among the best landscape views in the world. But safety must be a priority. As
soon as the infrastructure work has been completed, we will do our inspection and
if this rail is safe we will bring the service back. We hope to Gaspé by 2019. Why is train travel so costly? I had to read that question at least twice. I
cannot see how train travel is costly, when you can go from Montreal to Toronto
for $44. That is cheaper than parking in Toronto, let alone paying for gas. The train travel, of course, has certain costs tied to the infrastructure on which it operates. As well as the equipment itself, and the
employees on board. But honestly at $33 between Montreal and Quebec, and a
minimum of $44 between Montreal and Toronto, I cannot think that this service
is too expensive. That’s why we are investing in value-added services so
that Canadians can see a real value that is equal to our intention. In other words,
a unique customor experience. My father always told me when you pay little, you get what you pay for. That is not what we want for this service! We want this
service to reflect Canadian values, Canadian products, and Canadian experience. We believe that the current pricing regime is low enough, affordable enough.
And when you add to it, the discount prices for seniors, for youth, for
students, past products we believe it is a fair price. Talking about pricing, I’ve
been asked why and what is our plan for enhancing senior travel by providing
greater senior discounts. The sad news is at Via, a senior is defined by anyone
who’s 60 years or older. Obviously, I find that a bit too young to be called a
senior but I accept my faith. Seriously though, today we offer 10% off on the
economy fair. Our plan, recognizing that there are more and more Canadians who
qualify for the senior discount, is to come up with more aggressive offers by
offering them more opportunities to travel in Canada and across the country.
One of the things that seniors have most is time and relationships that they have
built throughout their lives across this country. Therefore, we want them to use
that time to maintain those relationships and visit their friends
and family across the country. Over the coming months, you will see new products
being introduced targeting, specifically, Canadian seniors. Question number six.
Will there be more Canada 150 youth passes? As I mentioned earlier, our intention was to offer 1867 passes that offer unlimited
experiences for travel in July. Due to technical issues, more than 4,200
passes were awarded. So at this stage, we will probably not be able to offer
similar pass in the next few months. Please know that these 4,200 pass holders have reserved more than seven segments of travel. The current pass holders booked on average seven trips in the month of July. Therefore we
have to keep in mind that although it’s 4,200 passes, it’s thousands more trips
and therefore we have to maintain the cap on that 4,200 youth passes. So again
sorry for those of you who missed out but we do invite you to try running on
Via through your University sessions. As we offer student passes for the semesters
that afford you unlimited travel within the corridor of your University in your
home for, again, a very affordable price. Question number five.
What about providing seat selection or menu selection for food online, at time of
booking? Well that’s a great idea. The problem is… Our current reservation
system, that date back to the past century, is not capable of offering that
capability. What we do provide is the ability to book your seat through our call center. Obviously it’s not as productive and efficient as doing it
onlin, and we recognize that. However, we are working right now on
selecting a new reservation system that over the coming year,s we’d be deployed
and would provide the latest world class services expected of modern travelers
such as seat selection, menu selection and other amenities. This question is very relevant but it belongs to the future years at
Via Rail. Our current systems do not allow seat selection or meal selection
online before your departure. To select your seats, you can call our
customer call center which isn’t as effective, but is still available when
it’s important to you. For question number four.
What about new schedules or frequencies in 2017? We are continually looking for new
opportunities to increase our frequencies in partnership with the
owners of rail. We understand that it’s important for
freight trains to be on schedule since these trains are tied to Canadian
prosperity. So this situation is very sensitive which must combine Canada’s
economic efficiency as well as the willingness of more and more Canadians
to travel by train. This week, we will announce new frequencies and new stops
among others in Saint- Hyacinthe. We’ve already introduced new frequencies
between Ottawa and Quebec City. So… new frequencies this year?
Yes, we will always have some. However, it will never be as fast as we would like, nor everywhere we
would like to add frequency. We are committed to serve communities like Windsor and Sanya London, Stratford St. Mary’s, all these communities on Southwest Ontario and the communities of Eastern Canada. However, access to infrastructure is
limited by the importance of moving Freight on Canada’s railways. It
is a delicate balance between minimizing the impact on the Canaan economy while
enhancing the opportunity for carrying travelers to do the smart choice and
travel by train. But you should expect more frequencies this year between
Ottawa and Quebec City as well as new stops along the current lines. What about a new train fleet? As I mentioned earlierin my speech.
We have table with the government. A plan to replace the LRC fleet, the 96 cars,
that operate in Quebec Winsdor corridor. As well as the rest of that
fleet which is also anywhere between 30 and 50 years old, buy a new
moderned fleet to run on the current infrastructure. We’ve doubled that with
the high-frequency rail project and so we’re hoping to get news on this
requirement, sometime later this year. Clearly the demand shown by our
passengers justifies continued investment. We’re very encouraged by the
federal government’s budgets of 2016 and 2017 that continued to invest in Via
Rail and therefore we remain cautiously optimistic that a positive decision will
come regards to the fleet in the coming months. For when the high-frequency rail service?
Well of course, we started promoting this idea in September 2014. Many of you have been
following this debate, as well as the support from the municipalities from the
federal provincial governments that support the willingness to increase rail
passenger services throughout Canada and in the Quebec Windsor corrido. Once
agai,n as I mentioned, we’ve submitted our plan to the federal government. The
government has already mentioned its intention to invest billions of dollars
in infrastructure in Canada and so we think that Via Rail is very
well-positioned to get a public policy strategy wanting Canadians to leave
their cars and adopt a public transportation system that is greener
safer and more productive for the Canadian economy. We have high hopes of high-frequency rail. As we believe that the 3 to 4 times the number of passengers, we have today, will take this service within a
very short time of its offering. Keep in mind that every time we’ve introduced a
new frequency, over the last three years, we increased passengers and ridership on
those individual frequencies. Let me say that again, every time we introduce a new
frequency on a service, let’s say Ottawa Toronto, the total ridership of Ottawa
Toronto services increased immediately not later, immediately. We believe
high-frequency rail, the same will happen. As the service’s introduced, ridership
will increase immediately, exponentially because Canadians want to get out of
their cars and choose a more economical, productive, efficient, environmentally
friendly and safe mode of transport. We have high hopes for the coming months. And the last question.
Can’t we do better? Well, hell yeah. We could do better!
And we have done better. Since 2014, this company has saved the government of
canada 45 million dollars in terms of reducing its deficit annually. It has
grown its ridership, single digit, growing its revenue, double-digit, growth its
employee engagement, double-digit, and has grown its customer satisfaction. So we’re
not there yet. Like train travel, business building, and growth, is a journey. We are
not at destination, nor do we plan to ever be at destination. But we are committed to
improving day by day, service by service, employee by employee, to the point where
most Canadians will not only love Via, they’ll use Via. So to answer this question we still have a long way
to go but we’ve already accomplished a lot. We have a well established plan. We’re very confident that if 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canada while we will enter 2018 which will celebrate the combination of the
CNCP rail service that created Via Rail in 2018, will certainly be the year of a
new departure for intercity services in Canada. Thank you for your attention! Thank you, Mister Desjardins-Siciliano. C’est tout le temps que nous avons maintenant pour la période question-répondre aujourd’hui. Merci beaucoup d’avoir pris le temps de nous écrire. J’aimerais remercier Françoise Bertrand, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano et Patricia Jasmin pour leur participation aujourd’hui. Merci à toutes les personnes qui se sont jointes à nous aujourd’hui pour cette assemblée publique annuelle de 2017. Nous vous invitons à remplir le sondage afin de nous transmettre vos commentaires. At Vail Rail, the opinion of our customers are important to us and we greatly appreciate your feedback. You will access
it by clicking on the Box designated for this purpose on the webpage that you are
at the moment. Have a great afternoon!

2 comments on “2017 Annual Public Meeting

  1. I am for the train all the time, they do well for the country. How do you explain, the 150th celebration finishing and having now the TCT, Trans Canada Trail, complete and along the K&P Kick and push rail line from Kingston to Pembroke, but you want to come into Sharbot Lake and disturb a main TCT trail and OFSC trail: http://www.thewhig.com/2017/07/19/sharbot-lake-among-stops-on-proposed-via-line I hope you look at other routes before you plan to disturb this great trail.

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