VIA Rail is in talks with the Provincial Government to offer ultra affordable train tickets to vulnerable aboriginal people, youth and elders along the Highway of Tears.
The idea was floated by VIA Rail’s GM of Regional Services Michael Woelcke at a meeting of the Highway 16 Advisory Group in March, but was just recently made public with the meeting minutes.
The Highway 16 Advisory Group was made up of First Nations, municipality and ministry representatives – meeting five times between January and May 2016. The team developed details and plans for public transit service along Highway 16 which was announced in June.
The proposed plan would provide $5 service to at risk youth, elders and First Nations regardless of origin or destination along the route. The criteria for who would qualify for the $5 passes is still to be determined, as is the distribution – whether it be through the First Nations Health Authority or the communities themselves.
Separate discounted ‘Aboriginal Fares’ are also being mulled, at 33% less than regular fare.
While the June announcement of bus service for Highway 16 did not include any rail components, in a statement the Ministry said “we continue to engage with VIA and the idea of a discounted fee is still being considered, however, we are not in a position to make any commitment to fare reductions on their behalf.”
VIA Rail spokesperson Mylène Bélanger confirmed that discussions are still underway, but declined to offer any further comment.
Six people are dead and about 30 were injured after a Via Rail train and an Ottawa city bus collided in the city’s southwest end Wednesday morning, officials have confirmed. Witnesses say the bus appeared to run through warning symbols at a train crossing.
Eleven people were rushed to hospital in critical condition.
“People started screaming, ‘Stop, stop!’ because they could see the train coming down the track,” Tanner Trepaniere, who was sitting on the top level of the bus, said.
The front end of the double-decker OC Transpo bus is severely damaged, images from the scene near Woodroffe Avenue and Fallowfield Road show. Witnesses say the front part of the bus was ripped off by the impact, which occurred in the middle of the morning commute, at about 8:50 a.m. (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Terry Pedwel)
Earlier reports said as many as 60 were trapped after the crash. Emergency crews are still searching for victims in the wreckage and Halton Police say they’re not sure how many passengers remain on the train.
A Hamilton health official told a local media outlet “there is a risk of some part of the train exploding.”
(Photos: Tyler Anderson/National Post; J.P. Moczulski/Reuters; David Ritchie for National Post)
It was a hot and humid day when I traveled from Ottawa to Toronto with Via Rail. The good news was the trains A/C was working great… Not so good news - the glazing on my window was defective and a heavy layer of condensation formed inside the window. The entire trip was spent peering through the mist as the train was too crowded to switch seats… - Not very many photos on that train trip :(
Thoughts and Prayers to the Families of the 6 killed 10 critically injured in the Bus-Train collision in Ottawa, Ontario.
UPDATE from Press conference at Ottawa City Hall:
19 Ambulances were dispatched to the scene of the accident with 34 paramedics who brought the victims to three local ottawa hospitals.
The total of victims with minor injuries is now 34 — 4 ‘walking wounded’ who admitted themselves to the hospital for care. 5 victims were declared deceased on site and 1 passed away at the hospital. 3 out of the 6 victims have been identified and the notification process has started. Please respect the victims and their families and do not spread unofficial names around, please wait for the official release on this. RIP Victims of 8017.