“Canadians are entitled to VIA service that serves a customer’s needs not the corporation’s needs.
“We demand the return of VIA train schedules for all Canadians!”
That’s the wording of an online petition created last week by St. Marys businessperson Chris West, as the latest step in his ongoing campaign to retain and enhance service to St. Marys and area by the federal government-controlled VIA Rail passenger service.
The petition is located on a website called MoveOn.org, which is a specialized hosting vehicle for petitions. West’s actual VIA Rail petition is located at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/via-rail-service?source=c.em.mt&r_by=8001801.
The target contacts for the petition are the following: federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Transportation Minister Denis Lebel, Prime Minister Steven Harper, Minister of State for Transport Steven Fletcher, and Perth-Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger.
“VIA Rail service is needed by students, tourists, business travellers, those without cars or licences, people going to medical appointments and meetings,” West said in a message sent out by email last week, announcing the latest move in his ongoing campaign — along with a Stratford/St. Marys-based “Save the Trains” committee — to keep the pressure on VIA executives and federal government representatives.
“Train travel is 600 times safer than highway travel! That’s why I created a petition.”
As of Monday morning, June 10, the petition had just over 500 signatures.
There’s also an opportunity to add comments to the MoveOn. org site. One St. Marys resident urges, “let’s give the people the ability to leave their vehicles in the garage and save the environment. It could be used if a regular means of commuting, not just for leisure, if the schedule was expanded.” And a Waterloo residents adds, “As a regular commuter I urge the expansion of service and making it easier to avoid driving on the 401. Please bring back Train 86."