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Dave_ Mar 26th, 2004 04:53 AM

VIA rail questions
I am planning to travel from Montreal to Niagara Falls by rail and I see the options available on their website - the best trip being a 7h45 minute total journey including a 1h30 change in Toronto. This leaves Montreal late morning. My questions are as follows:

- What's the difference between Best Fare ($127) and Economy Fare ($158)?
- I assume booking online over 10 days in advance will get the cheapest fare?
- Is this the best way to travel between Montreal and Niagara Falls (there will be three of us)?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Dave_ Mar 26th, 2004 05:09 AM

Before anyone else jumps in, yes I know the difference between the fares is $31!

TO_dweller Mar 26th, 2004 12:34 PM

The best fare is simply a reduced Economy fare. There's a limited quantity which usually sell out well in advance.

FainaAgain Mar 26th, 2004 03:11 PM

Dave, let me tell you how wrong you are! As there are 3 of you travelling the difference will be $93, not $31. Are there taxes? Then the difference will be... Somebody help me =:)

BAK Mar 26th, 2004 06:51 PM

Can you drive?

Assuming time is limited;

I think the best thing to do is take the train from Montreal to Toronto, and rent a car at Union Station. There are several car rental companies within 50 yards.

Instead of waiting around, you'll be in the car in half an hour, and almost at Niagara Falls before the train leaves Toronto. In Niagara Falls, park the car and take the shuttle around some of the attractions, and then get back in the car, go visit some more attractions and drive to Niagara on the Lake, and enjoy this town.

What's your plan for that night? You can easily drive back to Toronto after supper, although you may have to keep the car until themorning to return it to the rental company. Or you can stay in NFG or NotL overnight.

Regardless, with the car, you can return to Toronto whenever you want, instead of having to catch a train at a specific time.

It's an hour and a half, more or less, from Toronto downtown to Niagara Falls, by car, outside of rush hour.


Dave_ Mar 27th, 2004 04:38 AM

BAK - thanks, that's a great idea. We were planning to get a car for returning to Toronto via NOTL etc but I like your idea much better. Because we'll be getting to Niagara quite late we were planning on staying there 2 nights and then go to Toronto. That would give us one full day to do the attractions at Niagara Falls and then on the day returning to Toronto we could visit NOTL and anything else that we liked the look of.

Faina - thanks but given the others will be paying for their own fare, as far as I'm concerned the difference is still $31 and the fares included taxes.

wow Mar 27th, 2004 10:24 AM

Are those one way VIA fares? If so, why not fly to To. from Montreal & rent your car @ Toronto's Pearson airport? There are a lot of great air fares out there right now!

Dave_ Mar 27th, 2004 11:11 AM

Wow - thanks for the idea. I'll take a look at that. Does anyone have any good sites for getting internal Canadian flights?

Dave_ Mar 27th, 2004 11:37 AM

Just looking at Montreal to Toronto travelling on 24 May I have found:
- $99 on VIA (the above higher fares were to Niagara Falls)
- $127 on Westjet from their website

I can't get the site to work properly so I'll try again later.

BAK Mar 27th, 2004 03:02 PM

Dave, some local geography for you. Plus tax info.

there are many, many additional taxes and fees on top of air fares, so when you see an air fare, make sure you know what is included. there are fuel surcharges, airport departure taxes, and more.

The train leaves downtown Montreal, and arrives in downtown Toronto. If you fly from Montreal to Toronto, and you are starting off downtown,you have a half-hour taxi ride to the airport that costs money. I'm thinking $30-40, but that would cover all three of you.

If you wanted to leave for Niagara Falls immediately, it's a toss up. there are car rental counters at the airport, and there are car rental counters just as close to the train station, and the highway travel is about equal. You travel further going west from downtown, but further south from the airport.

To me, air travel in Canada is now just a pain, and train travel is easy. I used to commute between Toronto and Montreal every week. I drove a lot, took the train a lot, never flew.

Before the commuting period, I used to work in Montreal perhaps once or twice every couple of months. My Toronto office was near the airport, so I'd often fly. But if I had an early morning meeting in Montreal, I'd take the overnight train.


Dave_ Mar 28th, 2004 01:00 AM

BAK - thanks again for your help. I did try to ensure the prices I was comparing were all after the various taxes had been added on so hopefully they're comparable.

I think I prefer the idea of the train, partly because the downtown-to-downtown journey seems more convenient (particularly in Montreal).

The only advantage with flying may be that we arrive in Niagara Falls a bit earlier and therefore have more time there but I don't think there's a lot in the overall travel time once a taxi to Montreal and airport check-in time are factored in.

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