Volume 95, Issue 17

Friday, September 28, 2001
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No Sweat! Students sew for a cause

Locals fear planes, love trains

Contentious debate in BOG

Q&A with MSA president

Community ties can survive terrorism

Suspicious inquiries reinforce fears of bio-warfare

Locals fear planes, love trains

By Shane Silverberg
Gazette Writer

Tragedy for some translates into increased revenues for others. As airlines in Canada struggle to merely survive, Canadian rail and road travel is on the rise.

Fears of flying and troublesome delays, produced by the tragic events of Sept. 11, have brought a strain upon the nation's airports and airlines. In lieu of the hardships faced by corporations, such as Air Canada, VIA Rail Canada Inc. and Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp. have had above average performance.

Canadian rail and coach lines have been taking on many passengers who feel air travel is no longer an option for them, said Roger Pike, executive VP-operations for Greyhound Canada. Ticket sales were up by a monumental 50 per cent, but have since fallen to approximately 10 per cent above the norm, he explained.

"We expect that things should be back to normal soon. We're not expecting a systemic change in sales as a result of the strike on New York," Pike said.

Drivers have been "armed" with cell phones and have been instructed to call the RCMP or local authorities if a passenger is suspected of foul play, he said.

VIA Rail has also been subjected to a higher traveller volume according to Catherine Kaloutsky, a company spokesperson.

"In the first week following the bombing, VIA's sales rose by more than 40 per cent in central Canada," she said.

"We have had to turn away a number of passengers, as we do not have enough seats." She said the production of 139 new passenger trains has been made a priority."

Despite the satisfactory security precautions already in place, VIA has heightened track patrol, boarder patrol and has increased security at major rail terminals, she said.

Tim Fletcher, a ticket representative with Greyhound in London, said they are busier than usual. "Ticket sales have been up and will definitely remain high for the Thanksgiving holidays."

Kasia Iglinski, a third-year media, information and technoculture student, said the current trend may actually motivate her to travel by airplane.

"I've travelled around a lot so I'm not really scared," she said. "I think its more of a nuisance to travel by train because its so packed."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001