Via cuts heading off the rails, says transit group
Posted: Mar 3, 2013 7:10 PM AT
Last Updated: Mar 3, 2013 8:01 PM AT
A group that promotes public transportation is warning that looming rail cuts could make an already inconvenient schedule even worse in the Maritimes.
The federal budget won't be released until later this month, but the opposition parties are already expressing concern over cuts to Via Rail.
The NDP and Green Party said the budget estimates tabled by the government show a 62 per cent reduction from 2011 to 2012.
Ted Bartlett, vice-president of Transport Action Atlantic, said he’s seen a once vibrant passenger rail system in the Maritimes killed through cuts.
With the upcoming federal budget, he said he worries the skeletal service will worsen.
“It may not come to that. But still, it's an alarming trend and certainly if Via is forced to scrimp again, this train is going to be cut completely,” he said.
"We are badly, badly underserved."
Bartlett said in a time when most other countries are investing in rail travel expansion it’s shocking to see cuts in Canada.
In 2012 VIA Rail cut service from Montreal to Halifax from six days a week down to three.
Dawn Paris is stuck in Halifax after missing her train on Saturday.
“Now I can't leave until Tuesday, because there's no train tomorrow. So now I have to call work and let them know that I won't be back for Tuesday or Monday,” she said.
“I don't like to fly, I don't want to fly, I want to take the train. [I’ve] taken the train my whole life. Now it's like you can't leave on Monday, you can leave on Tuesday, but you can’t leave on Wednesday. I think that sucks,” she said.
Passenger Rocky Silliker said he travels between Halifax and Sackville to visit his daughter at Mount Allison University.
He said cuts have made it difficult for his family to visit.
“I'm concerned because it seems like this government is taking us to the point that they don’t want passenger rail service in Canada except between the Quebec-Windsor corridor,” he said.
“Whereas if you look at what's going on in the States and Europe everyone is expanding rail service and going to high speed rail service.”
Latest New Brunswick News Headlines
- P3 is the only option for Saint John water deal, MP says
- Saint John councillors have no choice but to push forward with a public-private partnership on the new water system, according to Conservative MP Rodney Weston. more »
- Moncton cyclists raise concerns over parking trial
- Concerns over bicycle safety in downtown Moncton could spell the end of on-street parking pilot project for Queen Street. more »
- Coroner’s inquest starts into Chinese student’s death
- Jury selection will get underway on Tuesday at the coroner's inquest into the death of a 17-year-old Chinese student who died in hospital after nearly drowning at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Saint John in 2011. more »
- N.B. community mourns lobster fishermen's deaths
- The death of three New Brunswick fishermen has cast a pall over the communities where they lived and worked. more »
Top News Headlines
- Oklahoma tornado recovery work begins after deadly storm
- Rescue teams searched through the night looking for survivors after a deadly tornado that flattened homes and two schools in an Oklahoma City suburb, and officials have now reduced the death toll from 51 to 24. WATCH LIVE: U.S. President Obama is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. ET about the massive tornado. more »
- Harper tells Tory caucus he is 'upset' by Senate scandal
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper will give a televised address to the Conservative caucus this morning and comment on the Senate expenses controversy that prompted the weekend resignation of his chief of staff, and forced senators Mike Duffy and Pam Wallin to step aside. more »
- Keith Boag: Have you heard about the murderous abortion doctor?
- The gruesome trial and murder conviction of Philadelphia abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell is unlikely to change American abortion law, Keith Boag writes. But it has U.S. journalists questioning their priorities and how they cover such a sensitive issue. more »
- Fearful Oklahoma families search for children
- The parents and guardians stood in the muddy grass outside a suburban Oklahoma City church, listening intently as someone with a bullhorn called out the names of children who were being dropped off — survivors of Monday's deadly tornado. more »
- Baseball fuels dreams, desperation in Dominican Republic
- The Toronto Blue Jays have a number of stars from the Dominican Republic, but in the shadow of these successful players is an equally important story about hope and poverty, and a country desperately struggling to balance the two. more »
- N.B. community mourns lobster fishermen's deaths
- Human rights complaint filed on behalf of Ashley Smith
- Poisonous algae germinating N.B. lakes, say researchers
- Police find bodies of 2 missing New Brunswick fishermen
- RCMP ‘relieved’ to see charges in Baby Taylor case
- Woman charged with hiding newborn's body
- Dennis Oland named as prime suspect in father's slaying
- Canadian on EI shut out amid foreign worker influx
- Rescue attempt over for New Brunswick fishermen