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I'm considering a long distance journey by train in Canada this summer. I don't have a Canadian credit card yet and my financial institution's debit card is not supported for VIA Rail Interac Online payments. If I go to the station to buy a ticket (I assume I can pay by debit card there), will I pay significantly more compared to tickets available online, or is the price (nearly) the same?

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I believe you will indirectly pay more, because you can't buy in advance. I just tried to book tickets online from Toronto to Montreal for tomorrow, and the cheapest price was $135 in economy. enter image description here

I switched to the first Thursday in June, and the cheapest price was $39 in economy, $89 in business.

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Looking further ahead did not make it cheaper. If you can get to a station and buy your ticket with cash a month in advance, I don't think you'll pay more. But if you want to walk up and buy it on the day, you will pay about 4 times as much for your ticket. As well, there may be even more discounts on some Escape fares that are available only on the web. The wording isn't clear, which isn't unique to Via - Air Canada used to sell some web-only fares that were impossible to change over the phone, but weren't labelled as such. I think you could get an explanation over the phone if you wanted to use a discount you see on the web but go into a station to do it.

  • I believe you will indirectly pay more, because you can't buy in advance. But If you can get to a station and buy your ticket with cash a month in advance, I don't think you'll pay more. I'm confused. Can one or can one not buy a ticket at a station 3-4 months in advance? – gerrit Apr 30 '14 at 18:14
  • I don't know. You'll have to ask them. – Kate Gregory Apr 30 '14 at 18:15
  • Well, that's kind of key to the answer. Also, if I try Toronto-Jasper departure 1 May (tomorrow) I get $855.41 in a lower berth, if I try 28 August I get $950.33. – gerrit Apr 30 '14 at 18:16

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