Getting your Commute Back on Track: The Case for the Return of VIA Rail Canada Commuter Train Service

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Overview

Eastern Ontario’s population is increasing. Our labour force is strong. Both are growing at a faster rate than the provincial average. Our region is ready to help power Ontario’s economic renewal.

However, hard-working commuters in Eastern Ontario living along the Kingston-to-Toronto corridor have lost a reliable and affordable option for commuter transportation with the suspension of VIA Rail Canada’s Train 651. This is creating barriers for residents to access job opportunities, education and retraining, and medical appointments.

A partnership of concerned municipalities, comprised of the Counties of Northumberland and Hastings and the cities of Kingston, Belleville, and Quinte West, is urging VIA Rail Canada to restore commuter Train 651 – a vital link between Eastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area.

Earlier this summer, we put out a call asking for your input with our survey ‘Keeping Your Commute on Track’. We received a significant response from over 2,800 residents. Thanks to you, we have the facts to make a strong case to VIA Rail Canada and the federal Ministry of Transport about the critical importance of getting Train 651 back on track!

Background

Train 651 was suspended during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the end of June 2022, almost all of VIA Rail Canada’s previous train routes had resumed across the country, but Train 651 has not yet been returned to service.

It’s time for VIA Rail Canada to welcome back their passengers on Train 651 and support the commuter service needs of Eastern Ontario.


The report

Cover image of 'The Case for Getting VIA Train 651 Back on Track'With the province now open and residents seeking transportation options, we have compiled the survey responses and current economic data into a report to make the case for getting VIA commuter train services back on track.

The Case for Getting VIA Train 651 Back on Track: The Critical Importance of Commuter Train Services for Eastern Ontario, details the critical need for the return to service of VIA Train 651. It demonstrates the importance for commuters to have access to affordable and convenient transportation options rather than making the choice between unemployment or a costly and time-consuming commute.

Report highlights

Pre-COVID riders valued the convenience, affordability and access to employment, education and medical treatments.

  • 66% of survey respondents used VIA Train 651 to get to work
  • 14% used the service for education and medical purposes
  • 76% of users accessed the service one or more times per week

When Train 651 service resumes, passenger usage will be stronger than pre-pandemic levels.

  • 96% of pre-COVID users would return if service resumed
  • 31% of all survey respondents would be new users of the service

Without the return to service, eastern Ontario workers will be hard hit.

  • 64% need the service as an alternative to rising household expenses and high vehicle fuel costs
  • 82% of respondents want to avoid vehicle use
  • 63% want to take action with climate change

blue button with words view the report


The call to action

More than ever, workers rely on an efficient transportation system to maximize their employment opportunities by connecting them to employers in desperate need of workers and to access training facilities to enhance their skills.

VIA Train 651 needs to get back on track. This is a call to action for VIA Rail Canada and the Federal Government to meet the needs of hard-working Canadians, to help build back our economy and protect the environment by welcoming back passengers to VIA Train 651.

Learn more

Share your thoughts

  • Let us know why it's time for VIA Rail Canada to welcome back passengers to VIA Train 651 by submitting a comment in the public comment box below.

Overview

Eastern Ontario’s population is increasing. Our labour force is strong. Both are growing at a faster rate than the provincial average. Our region is ready to help power Ontario’s economic renewal.

However, hard-working commuters in Eastern Ontario living along the Kingston-to-Toronto corridor have lost a reliable and affordable option for commuter transportation with the suspension of VIA Rail Canada’s Train 651. This is creating barriers for residents to access job opportunities, education and retraining, and medical appointments.

A partnership of concerned municipalities, comprised of the Counties of Northumberland and Hastings and the cities of Kingston, Belleville, and Quinte West, is urging VIA Rail Canada to restore commuter Train 651 – a vital link between Eastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area.

Earlier this summer, we put out a call asking for your input with our survey ‘Keeping Your Commute on Track’. We received a significant response from over 2,800 residents. Thanks to you, we have the facts to make a strong case to VIA Rail Canada and the federal Ministry of Transport about the critical importance of getting Train 651 back on track!

Background

Train 651 was suspended during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the end of June 2022, almost all of VIA Rail Canada’s previous train routes had resumed across the country, but Train 651 has not yet been returned to service.

It’s time for VIA Rail Canada to welcome back their passengers on Train 651 and support the commuter service needs of Eastern Ontario.


The report

Cover image of 'The Case for Getting VIA Train 651 Back on Track'With the province now open and residents seeking transportation options, we have compiled the survey responses and current economic data into a report to make the case for getting VIA commuter train services back on track.

The Case for Getting VIA Train 651 Back on Track: The Critical Importance of Commuter Train Services for Eastern Ontario, details the critical need for the return to service of VIA Train 651. It demonstrates the importance for commuters to have access to affordable and convenient transportation options rather than making the choice between unemployment or a costly and time-consuming commute.

Report highlights

Pre-COVID riders valued the convenience, affordability and access to employment, education and medical treatments.

  • 66% of survey respondents used VIA Train 651 to get to work
  • 14% used the service for education and medical purposes
  • 76% of users accessed the service one or more times per week

When Train 651 service resumes, passenger usage will be stronger than pre-pandemic levels.

  • 96% of pre-COVID users would return if service resumed
  • 31% of all survey respondents would be new users of the service

Without the return to service, eastern Ontario workers will be hard hit.

  • 64% need the service as an alternative to rising household expenses and high vehicle fuel costs
  • 82% of respondents want to avoid vehicle use
  • 63% want to take action with climate change

blue button with words view the report


The call to action

More than ever, workers rely on an efficient transportation system to maximize their employment opportunities by connecting them to employers in desperate need of workers and to access training facilities to enhance their skills.

VIA Train 651 needs to get back on track. This is a call to action for VIA Rail Canada and the Federal Government to meet the needs of hard-working Canadians, to help build back our economy and protect the environment by welcoming back passengers to VIA Train 651.

Learn more

Share your thoughts

  • Let us know why it's time for VIA Rail Canada to welcome back passengers to VIA Train 651 by submitting a comment in the public comment box below.

Why is the return of VIA Rail Canada’s commuter train services important to you?

Share your thoughts to help inform the Ministry of Transport and VIA Rail Canada on the need for Train 651.

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We have been mandated back to office mid week and I have been sending inquiries to VIA since April 2022 asking about the return of Train 651. Now many large corporations have Fall mandatory return to premises, we don't want to have to lose our homes and move out of our beloved neighbourhoods and uproot our families because train 651 which was available to us pre-pandemic is no longer available and may I add it needs to stop at Trenton Junction too. We need this train back asap, otherwise people will need to sell their homes of drive up to 1 hour to get to the Oshawa GO station which is a commuters nightmare.

erica.king 2 months ago
Page last updated: 13 Sep 2022, 03:23 PM