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When the bus doesn’t come back

When the bus doesn’t come back

Amelie Carriere, a resident of Saint-Georges in Beauce, suffers from optic atrophy, which reduces her ability to see at a distance. In her work as a reviewer and author, she uses a television machine that magnifies characters. “But to get around outside, I have a white cane, so I didn’t get my driver’s license. I don’t think they would have accepted me,” she joked.

Since the bus line between Saint-Georges and Quebec disappeared on March 31, she no longer laughs about it.

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

Photo courtesy of Amelie Carrier

Emily Carrier

When you asked your parents, at the age of 32, to take you to Quebec… Sometimes, I feel like I’m losing things I’ve been able to gain.

Emily Carrier

When Autobus Breton first announced the cessation of its intercity service, in 2018,I Carrier launched a petition that collected nearly 900 signatures and numerous testimonials from users, including the elderly, patients and migrant workers. A support program funded by Quebec and the MRCs then made it possible to maintain the service, but at the end of 2022, this was no longer enough. The new petition launched by MI Carrier, who nevertheless collected more than 1,500 signatures, changed nothing. The Beauceron airline, which “can no longer finance itself,” ended the service, it said on its Facebook page in the spring.

Photo courtesy of Amelie Carriere

Amelie Carrière in 2018, after her first petition helped maintain the connection between Saint-Georges and Quebec.

Less service

If no other connection disappears after Saint-Georges Quebec, many are less well served than before. Although there are no official statistics, everyone sees this.

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“We have started to lose a lot of services since the pandemic, and this is not coming back,” said Doyon, general director of the Association du Tragétique du Québec, an association that works to develop public transportation.

95% of lines are duplicates. On the other hand, for frequencies, they are lower than in 2019.

Luc LaFrance, CEO of the Bus Transport Association

Passenger numbers have decreased between Quebec and Montreal and “also on other lines, namely to Abitibi, North Shore, Lac-Saint-Jean and Gaspésie,” perhaps due to remote work and meetings in line, says Bus Transport’s president and CEO. Union, Luc Lafrance.

At the Quebec Transport Commission (CTQ), the administrative court where carriers must submit their changes to schedules and routes, we also note this.

“Some have reduced the number of departures per day and others serve certain points less often,” notes MH Marie-André Gagnon Cloutier, Legal Advisor at CTQ. “Or, in small villages where fewer people are riding, they’re asking for permit modifications so they can’t get through anymore. We’re seeing all kinds of changes.” […] To try to make up for the deficiency they have. »

Photo by Patrick Sunfaun, Press

The difficulty of traveling between regions concerns members of the Quebec Rural Mass Transit Association.

Flights that do not dock

However, intercity transportation is “a need everywhere,” asserts André Lavoie, president of the Association of Rural Mass Transit of Quebec (ATCRQ). Its members are Migrant Resource Centers that provide local public transportation, but the difficulty of traveling between regions worries them.

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“That’s why we talk about transportation systems: it’s all supposed to be interconnected. They’re not necessarily interconnected,” laments Mr. Lavoie.

In my opinion, leaving Matane to go to Gatineau, it is better to drag a tent!

Andre Lavoie, President of ATCRQ

We conducted the test on the Orléans Express website that serves these two cities. The results page indicated that the flight was “no longer available” on the day I searched. However, the Matane-Gatineau journey with the Orléans Express is featured on the ticket selling website Busbud. The duration was 25 hours and 40 minutes, with an 11-hour stopover in Montreal. There was no suggestion of a campsite, but it might be useful, because as the carriers note on their sites, “some stations are closed at night.”

Photo by David Boyle, Press Archive

Transport companies, which are private companies, are not obliged to agree among themselves to coordinate their services.

Some bus trips are much longer than car trips, or even impossible to take during the day.

Since carrier schedules are approved by the CTQ, they can oppose requests for modifications that would make the situation worse, by extending transportation by 24 hours, for example. “It certainly cannot be passed along like a letter in the mail because it raises questions among users,” points out the committee’s secretary, Ms.H Helen Chouinard.

However, transport companies, which are private companies, are not obliged to agree among themselves on the coordination of their services. Consequently, some flights combining several airlines lead to serious delays for passengers.

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“Finally, we realize that even between Montreal and Quebec, the offer we have is not great. It’s even worse on the lower paying lines. We really need to rethink the whole model,” says the CEO of Trajectoire Québec.