The current school semester is not over yet and we are already talking about the next semester. VIA Rail is once again offering its Unlimited Semester Pass (hereafter “Pass”). Below are some details about the Pass.
To qualify, you need to be between the ages of 12 to 25. If you are 26 years old or older, you will need to have a valid ISIC card.
The Pass allows you to travel for 120 consecutive days, of your choosing, sometime between January 1, 2016 and May 15, 2016. Essentially, you can activate the Pass any time after January 1, 2016, but it will only be valid for 120 days in a row. Also note that the Pass can only be used for travel on Economy class.
The pass is valid for unlimited travel between one of the 3 following regions (listed with the fare prices):
- Kingston – Windsor – $499
- Kingston – Québec City – $499
- Windsor – Québec City – $799
Terms and Conditions to Watch For
The taxes still need to be added and it will be based on the province you make the purchase. So if you want to save on the taxes, then make the purchase on the Ontario side.
The Pass are refundable and exchangeable, less a $50 service charge (plus applicable taxes), provided that:
- The pass has not expired.
- No trips have been made using the pass.
- No tickets booked with the pass have been cancelled after the applicable train’s scheduled departure.
Once a trip has been made, or a ticket using the Unlimited Semester Pass for youth has been cancelled after the train’s scheduled departure, the pass becomes completely non-refundable and non-exchangeable.
What is amazing about the Pass is that tickets booked using an Unlimited Semester Pass for youth may be cancelled at any time prior to the scheduled departure of the train without penalty. You can also exchange your ticket prior to the scheduled departure time of the original train booked, so long as the new ticket is booked in the applicable booking fare class (Economy and Escape fare only).
You cannot transfer your pass to someone else to use. They will verify your identity on the train.
Just to do a quick mathematical calculation. I used to take VIA Rail quite often between the Montreal – Ottawa – Toronto network. If my average ticket price was around $50, taxes included, then I would need 10 one-way trips to make this worthwhile within 120 days. That is actually only 5 round-trips in 3 months. So had the pass existed by then, I would have purchased it for sure and I would have purposely made more than 5 trips without question.
Just remember to always do your personal calculations before deciding whether this is worth it or not.