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Published on : Friday, May 15, 2015
As highlighted in VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) annual report, 2014 saw Canada’s national passenger rail service succeed in increasing its revenues and in effectively containing its operating deficit, while introducing innovative new products, enhanced levels of service and additional trains on key routes. VIA Rail released its annual report to the public earlier today, after it was tabled in the House of Commons.
”While challenges abound, VIA Rail’s overall 2014 performance confirms that the travelling public is buying into the solid value proposition train travel represents,” stated President and CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. “Starting in the second half of the year, we saw a welcome trend of increasing revenues”. Total revenues for 2014 increased 3.7% to $280.3 million.
In keeping with its enviable position as a ‘green’ alternative for environmentally aware travellers, VIA Rail has also reinforced its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – now reflected in a new, more comprehensive CSR Report incorporated into the 2014 Annual Report.
2014 service milestones
VIA Rail is pursuing a renewed vision that entails leveraging its strengths as the safest, most efficient and most environmentally responsible mode of intercity transport in Canada, as well as its potential as an engine of economic growth for the communities it serves, particularly the densely populated Québec City – Windsor corridor.
Need for dedicated passenger tracks
Potential growth in passenger volume is being inhibited by increasing rail congestion that negatively impacts on-time performance. VIA Rail shares tracks with freight railways that own 98% of the network. To address the congestion issue, VIA Rail is exploring the feasibility of acquiring or building dedicated passenger tracks, possibly in partnership with private-sector investors and provincial or municipal governments that stand to benefit from improved transportation links. “We all share the same objective: to be of greater service to our communities and to foster economic growth and prosperity,” Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano stated.
Safety – with respect to its own operations as well as the safety of Canadians around railroads – remains the number one priority for VIA Rail, underlying all aspects of its operations. Other immediate priorities include attracting more people to travel with VIA Rail while optimizing performance and value creation.
In his message, Interim Chairman Eric Stefanson characterized 2014 as a year of “significant change and substantial progress at VIA Rail, as we worked to realize our vision of making passenger rail the preferred way to move and connect people in Canada.” Noteworthy developments from a governance perspective included a comprehensive review and subsequent restructuring of the Board committees with an aim to increase their effectiveness, as well as approval of a new hybrid pension regime for new VIA Rail employees.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In 2014, for the first time, VIA Rail’s annual report incorporates a more comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility Report focused on activities with respect to the ‘four pillars’ of sustainability: Safety; Environment; Employees; and Passengers and Communities. The goal is to provide stakeholders with a global overview of how VIA Rail conducts its business in a responsible manner, and to align its reporting with recognized CSR best practices.
At VIA Rail, being a responsible corporate citizen means putting safety at the forefront of everything it does. It also means caring about people. As a Corporation, VIA Rail prides itself on being close to its employees, its customers, and the citizens and communities it serves. Another crucial distinguishing feature is that rail travel represents a sound environmental choice.
Given its attractive environmental profile vis-à-vis other modes of transport, optimizing the use of passenger rail travel by Canadians and Canadian companies can help reduce the country’s carbon footprint. According to Environment Canada, one train can replace 180 cars when comparing GHG emissions per capacity.
Fuel efficiency is one area in which VIA Rail has significantly improved its environmental performance in recent years, through the modernization of its fleet and the introduction of advanced new telemetry technology aboard its locomotives. Between 2009 and 2014, it consumed 29.9% less fuel, which translates into a 26.6% reduction in GHG emissions per passenger-km. In 2014, VIA Rail used 2.2 million fewer litres of fuel compared to 2013, a reduction of 5.2% that amounts to 2.3% fewer GHG emissions per passenger-km.
Detailed information and key performance indicators regarding VIA Rail’s achievements and ongoing challenges with respect to all four pillars of sustainability can be found in the CSR section of the Annual Report.
Source:- VIA Rail
Tags: VIA Rail