November 30, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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“Two buses never cross”: Local bus drivers reassigned to break REM shuttles

"Two buses never cross": Local bus drivers reassigned to break REM shuttles

Citizens of the South Shore waited in vain for their bus on Wednesday morning as local network drivers were reassigned to the Reso Express Metropolitan (REM), the third time this week it broke down.

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“I got to the stop early, but the two buses never crossed,” fumed Sabrina, who preferred not to give her last name.

The Brossard resident planned to take bus 47 from the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) to Panama Station at 7:20 a.m., where service has gradually resumed.

“The three of us waited and after 20 minutes, two of them went home. I took bus 14 to go to Longueuil metro station. This is something I will do in the future,” she dejected.

Tours are cancelled

That’s the scenario for Magali, who waited for buses 14 and 33 to get to Panama Station before opting to telework.

Bus 47 did not pass at the stop at the intersection of Pelletier and de Rome boulevards Wednesday morning.

Photo by Anouk Lebel

“The offer wasn’t great already, but when REM went down, it was even worse,” sighed the woman, who only wanted to give her first name.

RTL confirms cancellation of local network circuits to accommodate drivers on REM “relief plan” shuttles from 7:35am to 8:25am.

For 30 minutes, buses 34, 38 and 47 were not running towards Panama Station, spokesman Maxime Laliberte said.

On the “catastrophe” side

The RTL drivers’ union reports at least ten canceled circuits, mainly in “doubles”, where buses are attached to overcrowded lines.

“We’re taking away the local network to put on REM clothing,” president Mark Zingras lamented.

Circuits canceled brossard

RTL Bus Drivers Union President, Mark Gingras.

Photo courtesy of Mark Gingras

RTL has a “bank” of 25 extra drivers in seven days, who can be deployed when REM breaks down.

Mr. Gingras estimates it will take twice as long.

He has been fearing a “disaster” since late January, when Quebec will stop financing the drivers’ bank for the shuttle.

RTL has made requests to extend it, confirms Maxime Laliberté.

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