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More than 4,000 of Canada’s youth to travel across Canada
By Kylie Turner
Young people in Canada have been given an unusual opportunity to travel all of Canada by train.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday VIA Rail made a Canada 150 Youth Pass available for $150. The pass was available to travellers between the ages of 12-25. The youth passes are for unlimited travel in economy class during Canada’s birthday month this July. The pass was so popular the VIA Rail website experienced five times more traffic than usual and shut down many times.
“The interest in this offer was unprecedented,” said a tweet from VIA Rail. “We originally planned to make 1,876 passes available. More than 4,000 Canadians purchased passes to travel across Canada.”
For youth in Windsor this pass makes travel in Canada much more affordable compared to VIA Rail’s regular summer youth pass for $699. Sekna Dabaja, 21, a student at University of Windsor saw an article on Facebook about VIA Rail’s Canada 150 Youth Pass. Dabaja said the website crashed in the middle of her payment being processed and did not successfully purchase a pass because of this.
“If I knew there were limited passes I would have rushed to buy the pass after the site was active again,” said Dabaja. “I have been to more places outside of Canada then I’ve been to in Canada. I feel like it’s important to travel in my country but it’s expensive.”
VIA Rail said the passes were unlimited, but did not specify originally what about the pass was unlimited. There were only a limited number of passes being sold, but the trips within Canada were unlimited.
Much like Dabaja, other Canadian youth were upset about the missed opportunity because of website complications and limited passes.
“We know our customers, particularly Canadian youth, were frustrated and we are committed to addressing their concerns,” said VIA Rail. “Due to the incredible demand, we extended the offer past the original commitment. We will honour every pass sold, this totals more than 4,000 in 36 hours.”
VIA Rail warns Canadian youth to beware of Canada 150 Youth Passes sold online in classified ads. The passes are strictly non-transferable and are valid only for whom the pass has been issued.