Via Rail services between Quebec City, Windsor cut by 50%

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Via Rail announced it will begin cutting train services running between Quebec City and Windsor by 50 per cent on Tuesday until March 27 in an attempt to help curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Affected routes will include trains moving from Toronto to Ottawa, London, Sarnia and Windsor, as well as those advancing through Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa.

“To support the ongoing efforts deployed by the public health authorities across the country to limit the COVID-19 propagation, including recommendations for social distancing and in order to further reduce health risks to our passengers and employees, VIA Rail Canada announces a reduction of some of its services as well as additional preventive measures,” the train company said in a statement.

READ MORE: Via Rail suspends some train service amid coronavirus outbreak

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They said regional services from Sudbury to White River, Winnipeg to Churchill and Senneterre to Jonquière will continue to operate according to their respective schedules with no change.

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Both The Canadian, which runs from Toronto to Vancouver, and trains running between Prince Rupert, Prince George and Jasper have been cancelled.

In addition to service reduction, Via Rail said it is changing the way meal services are offered to limit contact between passengers and staff.

Neither business or economy class passengers will be offered the usual food or beverage services, said Via Rail.

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A free snack will be given to those travelling in economy class, while business class passengers will be given a light meal and water.
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When it comes to passengers with dietary restrictions, Via Rail advised they “plan accordingly.”

Via Rail also said more staff will be deployed to better sanitize its coach cars, in addition to already enhanced protocols in effect at terminal stations. They have asked passengers showing cold or flu symptoms to avoid travelling with Via Rail.

READ MORE: Does Via Rail’s survival depend on a new route through Ontario and Quebec?

Since March 13, Via Rail said 388 trains have been cancelled, affecting over 20,000 passengers.

“We are deploying these additional precautions knowing that they will have an impact on our capacity to run our trains on time,” said Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO of Via Rail.

“We thank our passengers for their patience and understanding during this challenging period for all Canadians and want them to know that all of us at Via Rail remain dedicated to offer the best possible service and travel condition, especially on board our trains, in our stations and our call centres.”