VIA Rail caps sale of promotional youth passes amid technical problems, high demand
For Canada's 150th Birthday, Via Rail is offering $150 youth passes for July. (Peter McCabe/The Canadian Press)
Amara McLaughlin, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:28AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:28PM EDT
Those hoping to get their hands on a special unlimited youth train pass for July from VIA Rail continue to experience frustration.
For Canada’s 150th birthday, the intercity rail service is selling unlimited Canada-wide travel for $150 during the entire month of July, according to Via Rail’s website.
But shortly after noon, the website put the brakes on the pass "due to technical difficulties."
VIA Rail told CTV News in a statement that its "technical teams are working to find the source of the problem."
The rail service directed new purchasers to call their reservation group or email their requests while the sale of the passes was suspended.
The company said in a post to social media at around 7:15 p.m. that sales of the pass have now resumed, but that customers may experience delays during the purchasing process.
However customers trying to buy the passes reported that they weren’t able to load the site, even after waiting 30 minutes.
In tweets directed at customers Wednesday night, the company also said that it was capping the number of available passes to 1,867. As of 11 p.m., 986 of the passes had been sold, VIA Rail said on Twitter.
According to VIA Rail’s website, the promotion is open to travelers between 12 and 25 years of age. It also applies to those 26 or older with valid student identification.
The deal is nearly half the price of a typical youth summer pass.
Pass holders can travel from coast-to-coast in economy class, with stops in nearly every province except Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
VIA Rail announced the promotion on Feb. 7, with Minister of Transport Marc Garneau on hand for the announcement at an Ottawa train station.
"The government of Canada is proud to participate in initiatives that contribute to making 2017 an exception and memorable year," Garneau is quoted as saying in a news release.