Public support sought to convince VIA Rail against rumoured cuts to service
VIA Rail's Ocean train service, seen here during a stop in Truro, is rumoured to be facing cutbacks from six days to three per week during the off season. A VIA spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the speculation. HARRY SULLIVAN - TRURO DAILY NEWS
TRURO -VIA Rail service that currently runs through Truro six days a week could be reduced if rumored cuts come to fruition.
And the speculation about potential cuts to the company's Halifax to Montreal run has led to the creation of an online petition seeking public support for the service.
"As I am sure you are aware, over the past couple of weeks rumors have been circulating in the media regarding proposed cuts to VIA Rail Canada," an employee who works on board VIA's Ocean run told the Truro Daily News.
"It's just basically to create public awareness that this is what is being speculated to happen," the employee, who asked not to be identified for job security reasons, said of the petition.
The speculation, which began following reports of anticipated service cuts during a recent VIA Rail annual general meeting, is that the service between Halifax and Montreal stands to be reduced from six days per week to three, in the off season.
A union spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment but the employee who spoke with the Truro Daily News said the rumours have led to feelings of "insecurity" among employees over whether job cuts could occur if the run is reduced.
"It's been really somber. The morale is quite low because no one is willing to give answers, you know, to confirm or deny the rumours," the person said. "People would definitely lose their jobs if there was a cut from six days to three."
Malcolm Andrews, VIA's senior manager of Media and Community Relations, said the company does not "comment on rumours" and he could not provide any information about any pending cuts to the service in question.
"But I can say VIA Rail regularly reviews its operations to ensure that they are appropriate and that they meet evolving market demand," he said.
Such reviews, which Andrews said are ongoing, can sometimes result in adjustments to fares, services, schedules and so on.
"So, as markets change and evolve, which they do, certainly in the travel business, so do the services and schedules and fares of companies like VIA Rail that operate in that world. If ever there are those kinds of changes as the result of an ongoing review, then clearly we would communicate that information ... in due course and in the appropriate manner ... to our customers and the traveling public and to our employees," Andrews said.
"People's travel patterns change and God help the one who doesn't change with it."
Anyone who would like their input included on the online petition can do so at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/stop-cuts-to-via-rail-canada/.