May 19, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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When the bus doesn’t return

When the bus doesn't return

A resident of Saint-Georges in Beauce, Amelie Carrier suffers from optic nerve degeneration, which reduces her distance vision. For her work as a reviser and writer, she uses the television machine that expands characters. “But to move around outside, I had a white cane, so I didn’t take my driver’s license. I don’t think they accepted me,” she quips.

As the Saint-Georges-Québec bus route disappeared on March 31, she had little heart to laugh about it.

“Not being able to drive weighs more on me,” said the woman, who uses the service two or three times a month, often to catch a bus to Montreal. That leaves carpooling, whose schedules don’t always work out.

Photo provided by Amelie Carrier

Amelie Carrier

At 32, when you ask your parents to take you to Quebec… Sometimes, I feel like I’m missing out on the things I’ve been able to earn.

Amelie Carrier

When Autobus Breton first announced the suspension of its intercity service in 2018, Mme The carrier launched a petition that garnered nearly 900 signatures and many testimonials from consumers, including the elderly, sick and migrant workers. A support program financed by Quebec and the MRC made it possible to maintain the service, but by the end of 2022 it would not be enough. And M. who started a new petitionme Yet the carrier, which has collected more than 1,500 signatures, has changed nothing. The Beauceron carrier ended the service, saying it was “no longer financially viable,” it said on its Facebook page in the spring.

Photo provided by Amelie Carrier

Amelie Carrier in 2018 helped maintain the Saint-Georges-Quebec connection after her first petition.

Poor service

If no other connection disappears after St-Georges-Quebec, many will be offered less than before. Although there are no official statistics, everyone sees it.

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“Since the pandemic we’ve started to lose a lot of service and it’s not coming back,” condemned Sarah V. Doyen, director general of Trajectoire Quebec, an association that promotes the development of public transport.

95% of the lines are repeated. On the other hand, for frequencies, there are fewer than in 2019.

Luc LaFrance, CEO of the Bus Transport Federation

Ridership is down between Quebec and Montreal and “on other routes to Abitibi, North Shore, Lac-Saint-Jean, Gaspécy,” possibly due to teleworking and meetings on the line, said the president and CEO of the Federation of Bus Transporters, Luc LaFrance.

At the Commission des Transports du Québec (CTQ), the administrative tribunal to which carriers must submit their changes to schedules and routes, we have also observed this.

Some have “reduced the number of departures per day and others offer some points less frequently”, M observede Marie-Andre Gagnon-Cloutier, Legal Advisor at CTQ. “Or, in smaller villages where fewer people board, they ask for permit amendments so they can’t go there anymore. We’re seeing a variety of changes. […] Try to make up for their deficit. »

Photo by Patrick Sanfacon, Pres

Difficulty traveling between regions for members of the Rural Collective Transport Association in Quebec.

Undocked voyages

However, André Lavoie, president of the Association of Rural Collective Transport of Quebec (ATCRQ), emphasized that interurban transport is “a necessity everywhere”. Its members are MRCs that provide local public transport, but are concerned about the difficulty of traveling between regions.

“That’s why we’re talking about transportation systems: it all has to be interconnected. It’s not necessarily interconnected,” lamented Mr. Lavoie.

We did the test at the Orléans Express site serving these two cities. The results page indicated that the trip was “no longer available” for the day you searched for. However, Matane-Gatineau trip with Orléans Express is offered on Busbud ticketing site. Duration 25 hours 40 minutes with an 11 hour stop at Montreal. There’s no indication of a campsite, but that’s useful because, as the carriers point out on their sites, “some stations are closed at night”.

Photo by David Boiley, Law Press Archives

Carriers, which are private companies, are under no obligation to agree among themselves to coordinate their services.

Some journeys by coach are actually longer than by car or impossible to do during the day.

As the carrier schedules are approved by the CTQ, requests for amendments to aggravate the situation, for example by extending the transfer by 24 hours, may be opposed. “It is certain that it will not pass as a letter in the post, because it will raise questions for consumers,” suggests the commission’s secretary, Smt.e Helen Chouinard.

But carriers, which are private companies, are under no obligation to agree among themselves to coordinate their services. Some journeys involving multiple carriers can cause serious delays to passengers.

“Finally, even between Montreal and Quebec, we realized that the offer we had was not excellent. And it was even worse on the low-paying routes. We really needed to rethink the whole model,” argued Trajectoire Quebec’s CEO.

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