Via Rail-reducing services in response to the Omicron variant – Kingston News

A Via train traveling through Napanee. Photo by Cris Vilela.

VIA Rail is reducing passenger service on the Ottawa-Toronto and Ottawa-Montreal corridors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically with reference to the proliferation of the easily transferable Omicron variant. “Given the impact on travel demand of tighter COVID-19 restrictions due to the rapid proliferation of the Omicron variant, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) will temporarily reduce frequencies in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor from Wednesday onwards. January 19, 2022, “the passenger train service said in a statement. This service reduction will affect the Kingston Corridor.

“While these decisions are difficult, they are consistent with the balanced approach we have maintained throughout the pandemic to fulfill our important public service mandate while proactively managing the financial implications for our operations,” said Cynthia Garneau, president. and CEO of VIA Rail. “Every change we have made in our services has been and remains closely linked to the evolving health crisis and market demand.”

The timetable for the corridor, which enters into force on 19 January 2022, will be as follows:

Montreal-Ottawa 51 (633) and 38
Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa 24/28 and 35/37
Toronto-Kingston-Montreal 62/64/68 and 63/67/69
Toronto-Kingston-Ottawa 51 * (643) / 53/59 and 52/42/54
Toronto-London-Windsor 72/76 and 73/75
Toronto-London-Sarnia 1 departure a day in both directions (trains 87-84)

“This temporary service reduction in the corridor is carefully planned to continue to provide significant intercity service on all routes. While we continue to closely monitor the development of the pandemic, VIA Rail ensures that we can offer our customers opportunities for essential travel in all regions. in the country, “Via Rail continued.” There will be no reduction in frequencies at the moment on other routes, but some services on board have been changed. “

VIA Rail says their Business class service will also be temporarily suspended and Business lounges are closed for the time being.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have implemented various initiatives throughout the passenger journey, so that our customers can travel safely and with confidence. “VIA Rail remains focused on implementing the final phase of our plan to gradually resume service for the spring of this year, and we hope the situation will improve in time for us to implement it as planned,” the company said. .

Via Rail said that since the beginning of the pandemic, the company has implemented various measures so that “customers can travel safely and with confidence. These include a mask policy, improved cleaning and a mandatory vaccination policy.”

According to the company, passengers over 12 years and 4 months since October 30, 2021 have been required to be fully vaccinated to travel by VIA Rail train as well as to access VIA Rail Business lounges.

“It is required at all times to wear a mask at VIA Rail stations and on board VIA Rail trains. For the sake of the health and safety of all passengers and employees, passengers who do not wear a mask during their journey will be required to get off the train or will be denied access by boarding, ”the company claimed.

“Furthermore, VIA Rail urges passengers to stay informed about public health guidelines and respect those that apply to them and their travel plans. The company also constantly reminds its passengers and employees of the importance of following recommendations from public health authorities and closely follow good hygiene practice (often wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cough or sneeze into a tissue or bend the arm, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth without first washing their hands). Passengers will be denied boarding if they experience symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or if they have been denied boarding for travel within the last 14 days due to medical reasons related to COVID-19. “

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