I love traveling by train. VIA Rail is a bit pricey, but it’s definitely worth it especially if you’re like me and feel so horrible on most bus trips that you just want to turn around and go home. Between the extra room, the ability to buy food and drinks and the customer service which is especially important to me as a blind guy, there isn’t much not to like. But nobody is perfect, and after this weekend there’s at least one thing I wouldn’t mind VIA tightening up.
We spent the weekend in Ottawa, and in both directions we were massively delayed. An hour and a half on the way down and when all was said and done, about two hours on our way home. That I’m not even upset about. I could have done without it of course, but things happen. What I do have a bit of an issue with though is the make good VIA gave us.
We were offered 50% of the value of the leg of our trip that was subject to the long delay. Our trips each had two parts. There was the bit between Kitchener and Toronto, and then the part between Toronto and Ottawa. So since the delay happened between Ottawa and Toronto, we got a half price credit for what we paid for that portion. And because we were delayed twice over the weekend, free trip! Yay!
The credits we were given are only valid for six months. What? How is that at all proper or fair? It’s not as though after six months we will no longer have been inconvenienced that day. The people who missed events and deadlines because of what happened aren’t going to unmiss them just because an arbitrary amount of time has elapsed. If you’re going to make things right, make them right. There’s no excuse for those credits not being valid indefinitely. Capping them at six months feels like a deliberate attempt on VIA’s part to get out of having to honour them because they’re banking on most of us forgetting about them until it’s too late.
I’m not going to boycott VIA over this or anything, but I do feel that we deserve better than a half assed apology like that. Either do your credits fairly or don’t do them at all.