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VIA Rail revising policy on Support Persons for Travelers with Disabilities

May 2, 2013

Via Rail has a policy on travelling with a support person, and not having to buy a ticket for the support person, which they call their “Escort Policy”. The current policy requires passengers who travel and request to have a support person travel with them free of the extra charge demonstrate that they need assistance in at least one of three core areas: eating, personal hygiene and taking medication.

Via Rail is revising its current policy on allowing a support person to travel with a person with disabilities at no additional charge. VIA has targeted the completion and training of the revised policy for May 31, 2014.

During the review, the current policy will remain in effect. If a passenger needs to travel with a support person for reasons other than needing assistance with eating, personal hygiene and taking medication, the passenger will be required to provide a signed letter from either a licensed medical doctor or a licensed mental health care specialist that indicates the type of disability and the passenger’s functional limitations. However, if this interim policy regarding letters from health care professionals interferes with VIA’s operational requirements, VIA retains the right to resort to the current policy that is in place.

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