The Heart of Canada’s Passenger Journey: VIA Rail’s 2030 Vision

Canada’s passenger rail industry is on its way to an ambitious 2030 vision, thanks to President and CEO of VIA Rail, Mario Péloquin.

I had the privilege to listen to his inspiring speech at the Montréal Chamber Breakfast on May 23, where he outlined VIA Rail’s 2030 vision to transform Canada’s passenger transport network.

At Icomera, we are proud to support VIA Rail’s vision. Our commitment to providing a Connected Journey aligns perfectly with VIA Rail’s goals of improving customer experience and fostering a sustainable, integrated transportation network.  

Mario Péloquin, speaking at the Montréal Chamber Breakfast (translated from the original presentation in French):

I have been captivated by trains since my childhood. From the wheels of toy trains to real locomotives, the movement of trains has always fascinated me. I have dedicated my entire career to serving this industry across North America. Today, I have given myself an important mission that I want to share with you.  

We all have a significant role to play, especially in these unique times. If we look at the current situation, with 5.3 million passengers demonstrating their trust and loyalty, it is evident that Canadians have a deep love and reliance on our rail system.

Our country was built on the development of its industry, and today, we have the opportunity to shape mobility for future generations. Trains offer a unique perspective, connecting communities and providing essential services. They allow us to traverse the country, enjoy moments, and ensure we don’t miss anything significant. For all of us to stay on track, it takes a train. 

Many people are discussing train projects that go beyond simple transportation solutions. These projects are crucial for cultural enrichment and community development. We need to improve the customer experience now to attract more people to our services, which will, in turn, support the future of our training projects.

At Windsor, Québec, we are in the midst of a significant modernization effort, rolling out new trains that are accessible, eco-friendly, and comfortable. By August 2025, two-thirds of our trains will be in service, offering an unparalleled experience. Our latest models boast an 89% satisfaction rate, the highest in the industry. Thanks to these investments, we believe we can win over even more Canadians.

In June, we will launch a campaign in Montréal to promote our new reservation system, designed to provide a simple and intuitive experience. Arabic service will also be rolled out during the same period. I want to extend my gratitude to all the employees who contributed to this development. Their dedication and flexibility ensure we can offer reliable services every day, even in the hidden maintenance centers.

Now, to have a lasting impact, we need a clear roadmap for our activities. Today, I am presenting our strategic plan, built on five key pillars. These pillars guide our priorities and reflect our commitment to passengers, employees, and financial responsibility.

Our strategic plan will help us reduce our operating deficit by 15%, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, and increase our capacity by 18%. And I am pleased to announce that in its latest budget, the federal government confirmed its intention to support the renewal of our entire fleet. This initiative will provide new, modern, and comfortable trains that meet the highest standards of accessibility.

We are at the tendering process of launching the new trains in the coming months. These trains will be the only ones of their kind in the world, providing incredible comfort and impacting regions from Vancouver to Montréal and beyond. I am confident that we will further enhance the Canadian travel experience and tourism industry. 

We continue to provide essential links for many remote communities. Today, I call on all transportation stakeholders to collaborate and make integrated mobility the rule rather than the exception. 

We are also looking at strategies from cities like Berlin, Paris, and Madrid, where different modes of transport are integrated to offer seamless travel experiences. Our goal is to make access to transportation simple, efficient, and disability-friendly, acting as a catalyst for public transit and local services. 

Lastly, we must explore all opportunities to develop the areas around our stations, addressing housing and urban development challenges. Collaboration with numerous partners will enable us to create new service development opportunities.

We strive to provide an environment where people can work comfortably and be productive along their journey. Together, we can improve the passenger experience continuously and focus on accessibility for people with disabilities and the elderly and promoting eco-responsible choices.

The path forward for our rail industry is both ambitious and essential. By prioritizing sustainability, modernization, and customer satisfaction, we are not only enhancing our services, but also contributing to the betterment of our communities and the environment. I urge you all to embrace this vision and work together to make it a reality. Let’s commit to a future where trains are not just a mode of transportation but a symbol of progress and unity.

This collaboration underscores our shared dedication to driving innovation and sustainability in the rail industry. Together, with VIA Rail, we are poised to make a significant impact on the future of Canadian transportation, ensuring a greener and more connected future for all.  

This article was originally published by Icomera.

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