The conditions that apply to children travelling alone vary according to the child's age:
Eight years of age and younger
A child under the age of eight cannot travel alone on a VIA train. He or she must be accompanied by a parent or an adult 18 years of age or over.
Eight to eleven years of age
As a general rule, children between the ages of 8 and 11, may travel unaccompanied under certain conditions and if the parent or legal guardian completes and signs a waiver of liability form (VIA form 59-09-8).
This pouch-style form must be signed and validated by an agent at the departure station. A $25 service charge applies (each way). If more than one child per family travel together, the service charge is assessed for each child. Each minor must wear the pouch-style Unaccompanied Minor form around their neck at all times for easy identification by VIA crews.
- The child can travel only in Economy or Business class.
- Travel only on direct trains (no connections or transfers), except if an adult can meet the child at the transfer point.
- The child must not leave before 5:25 a.m. AND trains must arrive before midnight on the same day.
- An unaccompanied child cannot board or detrain at an unstaffed station.
- Unaccompanied minors travelling with VIA Rail must not suffer from any serious illness or allergies that can cause severe intoxication or death. If this is the case, VIA reserves the right to refuse carriage of an unaccompanied minor unless a medical authorization can be obtained prior to departure stating that despite her/his severe medical condition, the child can and is able to travel alone.
- To ensure their safety, we limit the number of children travelling alone to four per train. We therefore recommend that you make arrangements as early as possible in order to secure your child's seat aboard.
- We cannot allow an unaccompanied minor with severe allergies to travel alone. Please consult our allergy policy.
Sudbury – White River
Since there is only one staffed station on along this route, unaccompanied minors under 12 years old cannot travel on the Sudbury-White River line.
Twelve years of age and older
Children ages 12 and over may travel unaccompanied on VIA trains. However, the unaccompanied minor service can be provided upon request to these children under the same conditions as children 8 to 11 years of age.
Responsibilities of parents/guardians
Only the child's mother, father or an appointed adult guardian (at least 18 years of age) is permitted to escort an unaccompanied child.
When bringing the child to a station, or meeting him/her at destination, parents/guardians will go:
- Toronto: to the Special Service Desk counter.
- Montréal: to the wicket #1 of the ticket counter.
- Other stations: to any ticket counter.
Parents/guardians must show a photo ID (such as driver's licence, government health card, etc.) both when bringing the child to the train and when meeting him/her at destination. This is a legal requirement, as a court judgment may have prohibited these persons from contacting the child.
Parents/guardians must carefully read the declaration and agree to comply with the instructions and sign the form.
They will also take the minor to the Service Manager on the platform during pre-boarding (30 minutes before departure), and remain in station until the train departs.
READ FOR YOUR CHILD'S SAFETY
I attest that this child:
- does not suffer from any serious illness or allergies that can cause severe intoxication or death. If this is the case, VIA reserves the right to refuse carriage of an unaccompanied minor unless a medical authorization can be obtain prior to departure stating that despite her/his severe medical condition, the child can and is able to travel alone;
- is capable of travelling alone, has been informed of the schedule, and will be met at the destination;
- will carry all travel documents required by applicable laws, and has been instructed to cooperate with and follow the instructions of VIA personnel; and,
- will by greeted by a designated person at the destination station who will be on time and have appropriate PHOTO ID (passport, driver's license, government health card, etc.)
Bring the child to the departure station at least 45 minutes prior to departure and report to the appropriate place (information counter, ticket office, or a VIA agent - check with the station beforehand). VIA will provide the same care and will assume the same responsibility for the child as is normally provided to an adult passenger. Notwithstanding the foregoing, VIA shall not be responsible for loss or damage sustained and cost incurred in connection with the child's travel or resulting therefrom, notably if the child does not cooperate with and follow the instructions of VIA personnel. Do not leave the departure station until the train has left. The child must have sufficient funds for meals and incidental expenses.
NOTE: If the person designated on the form is not at the destination station to meet the child, VIA personnel will then contact that person and ask them to greet the child within a reasonable time. If the child is not greeted within this time, or if VIA is not able to contact either the designated person or the person who signed the form, the child will be handed over to local police.
The parent or the designated person must visit our web site or call at 1 888 VIA-Rail or for train arrival time. In case of a delay, the child will remain in the custody of a VIA Rail representative.
The child will be accompanied by a VIA employee to the arrival station. Please expect a certain delay.
Thank you for your understanding.
Tickets for children travelling alone cannot be purchased through the web site. To make arrangements for children travelling alone, please inquire at a VIA Rail station ticket counter or contact a telephone sales agent at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or TTY 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired).