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Do VIA tickets ever get cheaper?


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#1 williamn

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 09:31 AM

Does anyone know how VIA tickets are priced? As in, are they priced according to demand or just according to how far out you book?

The reason I ask is that I need to travel from Montreal to Toronto in November and the tickets are already very expensive even this far out. Should I just book now or is there a chance prices will go down, as sometimes happens with air fares?



#2 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 10:29 AM

Join Via Rail Preference and check each Tuesday for Discount Tuesday 50% off fares for sleeper accommodations on the Canadian.  Be aware that these discounted prices only available on Tuesdays are last minute savings and are only available 2 to 3 weeks before actual travel date.  Otherwise, I am not aware of any changes to prices no matter how far or how close to travel date you book your ticket.  So tickets will probably not go up if you wait closer to your travel date.  Only danger you face is if train sells out which it can do around holidays, etc.


Edited by Tennessee Traveler, 07 September 2016 - 10:31 AM.


#3 Seaboard92

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 03:56 PM

I'm just curious what is the 50 percent off price because I think I've seen that and it's very high

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#4 Anderson

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 04:48 PM

What prices are you getting and for what class(es) of service are you looking?

Edit: So, Escape fares one-way run $51-118 and are generally available (most trains I'm showing MTR-TWO show such a price).  That isn't too bad (compare to NYP-WAS).  However, those are also non-refundable, limited-exchangability fares.  The Economy/Economy Plus fares are pretty well fixed (and more expensive than Business).  Business is also variable ($114-217) and then there's Business Plus, which is over $300.

 

Remember, however, that Business Class on VIA is on par with First on the Acela (I'll regularly rate it as better than the Acela, truth be told, in terms of OBS).


Edited by Anderson, 07 September 2016 - 04:58 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#5 williamn

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 04:55 PM

Looking for Business Class and the train I want is already $188. Seems very high to me this far out.


Edited by williamn, 07 September 2016 - 04:56 PM.


#6 Anderson

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 05:04 PM

Ok, that's a lot more clear.  One point you should remember: They're pricing in CAD, not USD, so a CAD188 fare comes out to USD146.

I don't know about VIA's yield management practices.  One thing to eyeball is what the other trains are looking like that day.

Edit: Also...Fridays and Sundays tend to be more expensive, just like with airlines.


Edited by Anderson, 07 September 2016 - 05:06 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#7 williamn

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 07:08 PM

Yep, I live in Canada, hence was expecting CAD ;-)

I'm not sure about their yield management either - I have booked similar tickets much closer to the time for less...



#8 zephyr17

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 12:23 PM

They really don't do yield management, per se, at least on the Canadian.  There fares do vary by season, basically on and off, and I think there may be a shoulder season level, but it is pretty set.  There are basically two fare tiers within those seasonal rates, a regular discount tier with relatively limited space, and a full fare, plus the Discount Tuesday sales.  Off Season fares seem to be about 30% less than high season fares.  I didn't do the math just now, that is a guesstimate from memory.

 

One small note about VIA's definition of 50% off.  50% off is generally 50% off full peak/high season fare, no matter what time of year you are traveling.

 

Another note, if you are in a position to ride the Canadian about once a year and would like to.  A single one-way trip on the Canadian in a private accommodation even at the off-season discount fare or a Discount Tuesday 50% off is enough to get you elite "Privilege" status which starts when you spend more than CAD $999.  Privilege members get a coupon worth 50% off of sleeper fares which is GOOD ANY TIME, allowing me to plan ahead.  I discovered this by accident when I got the upgraded membership package after having taken a Discount Tuesday trip on the Canadian, having signed up for the frequent traveler program just to get the emails.   I have ridden once a year for the last few years because I enjoy it and can afford as long as I long keep those 50% off coupons coming.  It isn't a big deal for me to get to Vancouver, I can catch an Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver from a station with free parking 25 minutes from my house.  So they have literally hooked me like crack.


Edited by zephyr17, 09 September 2016 - 12:32 PM.

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#9 Bob Dylan

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 11:22 PM

Excellent post zephyr17!

Wish I lived closer to the border, but I can get cheap flights on Alaska Airlines to Seattle and ride the Canadian to Toronto in the Winter on a Discount Fare in a Lower Berth (Section) that is much cheaper than lots of Amtrak LD Trains with their "Less for More" Service that is now in effect!
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#10 Anderson

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 02:09 AM

Excellent post zephyr17!

Wish I lived closer to the border, but I can get cheap flights on Alaska Airlines to Seattle and ride the Canadian to Toronto in the Winter on a Discount Fare in a Lower Berth (Section) that is much cheaper than lots of Amtrak LD Trains with their "Less for More" Service that is now in effect!

Especially with the currency shift...there are times the Canadian can be cheaper than Amtrak for a substantially similar accommodation setup (and more reliable in a sense, insofar as the risk of a missed connection in CHI due to a blizzard is a real issue, while the Canadian is at least book-ended by multiple-daily service corridors).


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Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#11 OBS

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 05:33 PM

Good News! Express Deals are now available on a daily basis!



#12 Just-Thinking-51

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 08:34 PM

That not really a good thing.

#13 Palmetto

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 08:22 AM

That not really a good thing.

Because?



#14 Just-Thinking-51

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 03:13 PM

So now you need to check everyday looking for fare special instead of one day a week. Time for a AmSnag for VIA.

#15 Palmetto

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 04:33 PM

So now you need to check everyday looking for fare special instead of one day a week. Time for a AmSnag for VIA.

I agree.



#16 TylerP42

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 07:41 PM

The only time I got a good price on VIA was when I bought the same day and there happened to be a few "Escape" fares left... their prices are rather high, but I have to admit the travel was amazing and the in-car service was nice, for great prices. ($2 Canadian for a soda)


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