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Not that many years ago, Via didn't even assign seats in economy, at least between Toronto and Ottawa, which is the route I used to take somewhat regularly. Which is why people got used to forming huge lineups in the departure hall an hour or more before the train was scheduled to leave, so that you could get a seat with your party.
 
If VIA is going to nickel and dime us, i will either just fly or drive the shorter distance trips like Toronto to Ottawa/Montreal.


At this rate VIA might as well purchase some narrow body planes, strip that wings then weld them to flat bed cars if they want to act like airlines so much.

In fact I already have a mock up:

737 train 640

(Spirit AeroSystems)
 
Not that many years ago, Via didn't even assign seats in economy, at least between Toronto and Ottawa, which is the route I used to take somewhat regularly. Which is why people got used to forming huge lineups in the departure hall an hour or more before the train was scheduled to leave, so that you could get a seat with your party.
Yes, same on Montreal-Toronto and I agree it set people up to the need to queue. Charging for reserved seats seems pretty silly to me and really ONLY a 'money pit' - but one that will piss off customers!
 
Nobody forces anyone to purchase a ticket without complimentary seat selection, just like nobody forces anyone to whine here endlessly how not having to pay for selecting their preferred seat regardless of how much more or less the other folks in the same car have paid is their birth right.

The calculation with the new fare model is simple:
  • Want full flexibility and gain as many Preference points as possible? Choose „Economy Plus“!
  • Are you okay with reduced flexibility as well as a slightly lower Preference point accumulation? Save some $15 and choose „Economy“ instead!
  • Do you just want a ride and don‘t really care about which seat you are getting or receiving extra Preference points or any refund if your plans change? Save another $10 or so and choose „Escape“!
If you don‘t like the fare conditions for „Escape“, choose a different fare class or a different operator and mode (good luck, though, if you take offense by merely being offered a ticket without complimentary seat selection!). But maybe one day you‘ll realize that what is called a bit unfortunately „price discrimination“ leads to better outcomes for everyone, by allowing passengers to choose for which features they are prepared to pay more and for which ones they aren‘t…

Edit: doesn’t Megabus come with a stupid „reservation fee“, which cannot be avoided but inexplicably gets added on top of any advertised fare?
 
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Are there other intercity passenger railways in the world that also do this? Is this a normal thing or is this an outlier?
 
Are there other intercity passenger railways in the world that also do this? Is this a normal thing or is this an outlier?
the EU has seen a rise of budget high speed trains that operate like budget airlines where you’re charged for every little thing.

Big difference is that it’s a sub brand of a larger railway agency. So there’s SNCF and their low cost brand Ouigo.

https://www.ouigo.com/
 
Are there other intercity passenger railways in the world that also do this? Is this a normal thing or is this an outlier?

It has been a while, but back when I last used intercity trains in Europe (not HSR), you had to pay extra for a reserved seat (not sure if you could select which seat it was), otherwise you could sit in any seat that was not marked as reserved when boarding. That was over 20 years ago though.

This whole issue seems to be a bunch of Karens (or whatever the gender neutral version of a Karen is) complaining about a non issue to me.
 
the EU has seen a rise of budget high speed trains that operate like budget airlines where you’re charged for every little thing.

Big difference is that it’s a sub brand of a larger railway agency. So there’s SNCF and their low cost brand Ouigo.

https://www.ouigo.com/
I‘m not sure how many actual passengers share your hinted personal preference of forcing price-conscious and convenience-focused passengers to book different sets of trains over different website rather than simply offering distinct choices of fares when they select a departure, but as @roger1818 said, this seems to be a non-issue except for people who still struggle to grasp that this only affect those passengers who insist on paying the lowest-available (i.e., „Escape“) fares and therefore have to accept the lack of certain amenities which come with other slightly more expensive fare options…
 
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Not that many years ago, Via didn't even assign seats in economy, at least between Toronto and Ottawa, which is the route I used to take somewhat regularly. Which is why people got used to forming huge lineups in the departure hall an hour or more before the train was scheduled to leave, so that you could get a seat with your party.
I'm a big fan of reserved seating. Even Cineplex does this now at their VIP theatres, which is great. No line ups, no hassle. As a university student in the 1990s taking VIA from Ottawa or Toronto it felt like we're waiting to escape on the roof of some embassy, with everyone lining up.
 
At this rate VIA might as well purchase some narrow body planes, strip that wings then weld them to flat bed cars if they want to act like airlines so much.

In fact I already have a mock up:

737 train 640

(Spirit AeroSystems)
If you ever go on the Boeing factory tour you can see them irl
 
I'm a big fan of reserved seating. Even Cineplex does this now at their VIP theatres, which is great. No line ups, no hassle. As a university student in the 1990s taking VIA from Ottawa or Toronto it felt like we're waiting to escape on the roof of some embassy, with everyone lining up.
Exactly, and even passengers with the cheapest tickets („Escape“) fare will still have a reserved seat and therefore still no reason to show up early and queue for an eternity…
 
I suspect those complaining are conflating reserved seating with seat selection.
And none of those whining now seem to acknowledge that this change only affects those passengers which deliberately chose to book in the cheapest („Escape“) fare, rather than spend an extra $10 or so on a fare which would not just offer them conplimentary seat selection, but also flexibility in the event that they have to cancel or rebook. You get what you pay for. Simple as that…
 
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It has been a while, but back when I last used intercity trains in Europe (not HSR), you had to pay extra for a reserved seat (not sure if you could select which seat it was), otherwise you could sit in any seat that was not marked as reserved when boarding. That was over 20 years ago though.

This whole issue seems to be a bunch of Karens (or whatever the gender neutral version of a Karen is) complaining about a non issue to me.
I am agreement with you, that's why I wanted to find out if this was a normal thing or a nothingburger.
 
And none of those whining now seem to acknowledge that this change only affects those passengers which deliberately chose to book in the cheapest („Escape“) fare, rather than spend an extra $10 or so on a fare which would not just offer them conplimentary seat selection, but also flexibility in the event that they have to cancel or rebook. You get what you pay for. Simple as that…
What savings or expenses is VIA incurring if one does or does not reserve a seat? There should be no extra charge unless VIA is incurring an extra cost.

While we're at in, if I have to self check and bag my groceries, the law should demand that I am refunded the ten minutes of minimum wage I would have been paid to do their job.
 

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