Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to VIA Rail Canada President and CEO Cynthia Garneau regarding the reduction of service to the Budd Car.
We are Northern Members of Parliament in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
A number of businesses and citizens in our ridings depend on the Sudbury–White River train operated by VIA, informally called the Budd Car: timetable # 185 and 186. This train service is essential to remote areas that are not accessible by road.
Recently VIA reduced the schedule to depart from Sudbury on Saturday and return to Sudbury on Sunday. In previous years, the summer schedule had always been Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday departures and returns on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
This very limited one-train-a-week schedule means that my constituents have no means of getting groceries or other supplies aside from leaving for Sudbury on Sunday, spending the whole week in a hotel waiting for the train to go back on Saturday.
For the outfitters and guesthouses, they cannot book guests back to back because guests arrive on Saturday and leave the following Sunday. That means new guests do not have a place to stay on the Saturday night since the previous guests are still there.
Madame Garneau, running a business on the bud car line is difficult. People are looking for safe places to isolate. Northern Ontario can offer them all the distancing they need and want, but they need to get there.
The majority of businesses, residents, cottagers, and canoeists would be satisfied with two departures a week: one on Thursday coming back Friday, and one on Saturday coming back Sunday. We hope VIA will consider adding a run of the Budd car, as it would instantly improve our constituent’s quality of life.Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas
Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha
Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson Mushkegowuk-James Bay MPP Guy Bourgouin
Timiskaming MPP John Vanthof
Sudbury MPP Jamie West
Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell