Hi Ken

I received an E-Mail yesterday from one of my friends regarding the free trip in July offered by VIA Rail. It sure looked good at first, but this AM I went to the VIA Station in Moncton and enquired about a trip to Medicine Hat AB for my wife and myself.

I discovered that: 

The veteran rides free. Your spouse pays half price, but, if the spouse is also a veteran the ride is also free. The half fare price to Wainwright AB is $809.08 from Moncton return. VIA does not go to Medicine Hat, so you have to find alternate transportation from Wainwright.(Car, Bus etc.)

Meals in the dining car run between $18 to $22. VIA will let you use the dining car.

No upgrades are permitted under this program and you have to ride Coach Class all the way.

This really doesn't make too much sense as we are getting too old to ride the rails in a coach. Some vets who may like to take advantage of this offer are mostly 75 to 90 years of age and no way can they sit up for a long journey.

The Government of Canada and VIA Rail may think they are doing the veterans a great service and they could, by at least ensuring the Vets have the opportunity to upgrade, by allowing them to purchase at the veterans expense a compartment, berth of roomette.

To me the Government is trying to boost their image at the veterans' expense, but I believe this program may fall flat. A coach may be sufficient to travel from Moncton to Halifax, or Moncton to Quebec but any farther is definitely out of the question.

This is another one of those deals that was always in existence, I don’t see the benefit here, they didn’t give us anything really.  PS. We will not be taking advantage of the trip the way it is being offered.


Note that Trip Deals already has a special for Seniors:

"Bring a friend for FREE! Are you thinking of bringing an old friend, a relative, or someone else special along on your next trip? If you are 60 years of age or older, your guest will be ours! On almost all of our trains, your travelling companion will travel for free in Comfort class (Economy), while in most other classes, your companion will benefit from a 75% reduction on the full adult fare. Benefit from this promotion soon: find out today how to travel together and save"!