CPRTim wrote:Most bustitutions between Capreol - Toronto and v.v. have nothing to do with emergency situations. It's almost always a case of VIA management not wanting to be bothered running the train because it's inconvenient. In the course of my many travels I've had occasion to meet several VIA managers and I asked one once (in a friendly manner) why VIA is so quick to discontinue a train and put people on buses. His response was: "Because it's the easiest and cheapest thing for VIA to do." The majority of passengers who have paid over $2,000 (peak season, incl. tax) for their one-way trip on the Canadian are not concerned with their "social position" in having to take a bus for many hours. They are concerned about being arbitrarily denied their private-room accommodation, their gourmet meals in the art deco dining car, the dome, the lounge and all other aspects of a comfortable journey - including having a place to put your legs and feet.marquisofmississauga wrote:Then there is VIA's occasional short-turning of the Canadian in Capreol. I've seen passengers furious with VIA when facing a 266-mile bus trip when they have paid a small fortune for a first-class train ride.I was on one of these bustitutions a couple of years ago but in the opposite direction. We actually arrived into Toronto ahead of the Canadian’s schedule due to the buses faster road trip time. The majority of us were First Class “Silver & Blue” passenger and were well compensated for and accepted the minor inconvenience of a bus ride the last few miles of what had been a great trip across the country. Sure there were a couple of complainers who thought it beneath them to have to take a bus but they were told by the rest of us to lighten up and accept the adventure of travel. I’m sure VIA would rather have run the Canadian through to Toronto if it had been possible. But the bus ride was fast and comfortable on a modern highway coach and appeared to be no big deal to the vast majority involved.
Buses are a horror for anyone taller than the four-foot-eight for which their seats seem to be designed. I take bus trips several times a year (usually the bus/ferry connection between Vancouver and Victoria or GO buses to and from the end of the train service) but anything over an hour is a misery to be endured only in a real emergency. VIA's "bus credit" policy, excerpted below, makes no mention of the fact that they may discontinue a train for no reason other than the fact it is late.
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"Trains replaced by buses
In exceptional circumstances (e.g., when track works cause a section of track to be taken out of service), buses may be used to ensure connections between one or more of our stations. For the portion of the trip made by bus, we will grant you a travel credit equal to 50% of the rate (taxes not included) you would have paid to travel the same distance by train. In Sleeper class, the travel credit is equal to half the price you would have paid in Comfort class (Economy).
Only the segment of your trip travelled by bus will be considered."
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The passenger loads on the Canadian are falling rapidly for a variety of reasons. Imagine what would happen if VIA was telling prospective passengers: "Oh, by the way, if the Canadian is late it will be annulled at Capreol and you will complete your journey by bus." The Kamloops-Vancouver portion of the route used to get a lot of bustitutions, but that is now rare. Even the Capreol busing is becoming rare. The Canadian is usually allowed to proceed to Toronto, even if means arriving at 0400 or 0700. Over the years I've met many passengers on other trains who have been treated to a bustitution in a non-emergency situation. You can be sure when they get back to Europe or the US they are going to tell everyone about their experiences, both positive and negative. VIA doesn't need the bad publicity.
It is hoped that with new schedule the Canadian will arrive on time more often. But that, of course, depends (mostly) on CN.