All of Eastern Quebec and the Gaspé are increasingly isolated with the new service interruption of Orléans coaches.
There will no longer be Orléans coaches in Gaspé and Bas-Saint-Laurent, with the exception of Rimouski, as of February 7, until further notice.
Keolis Canada said on Wednesday that the pandemic is forcing it to cut services until conditions improve. Air Canada had already suspended its regional line to Gaspé and the train is not running either.
Virus or not, the mayor of Gaspé considers this situation unacceptable.
“There are 80,000 of us in the Gaspé and currently, both in air and land transport, we believe that our regions should not be taken hostage by multi-billion dollar multinationals. Air Canada has sales of $ 12 billion to $ 14 billion per year and Keolis $ 9.1 billion per year. For Keolis, 30% of the company belongs to us through the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, ”says Daniel Côté.
The mayor would like regional transport to be seen as an essential service with the necessary support. According to his example, many people unable to drive must travel to large centers to receive more specialized health care.
“What are we telling them? Is the private company not making enough money? I call on the government to act. Whether it involves a subsidy to Keolis or another transport service, but we cannot cut transport services because a company decides not to come, “adds Mr. Côté.
The president of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities, Jacques Demers, also sent a letter to Transport Minister François Bonnardel asking him to intervene urgently in the Keolis file and the withdrawal of routes in various regions of Quebec. The FQM considers this decision unacceptable for the RCMs and the regions.
At the end of March 2020, the Orléans carrier had suspended all its routes before gradually resuming its intercity services in July, in particular to the Gaspé.
The frequency and sustainability of the services will depend on traffic, Keolis said about six months ago.
An essential service
This time, the service will be limited to two routes, namely the Montreal-Quebec service, as well as the Quebec-Rimouski service. There will be no stopovers between cities.
Center-du-Québec and the Mauricie will also be without intercity bus service within two weeks. Keolis says, however, that some service will be maintained in Mauricie.
The company cites another drop in ridership due to the pandemic. Keolis assures us that these are temporary measures.
“The government is supporting all areas of activity related to the pandemic, but we have an essential service that also needs support. I believe that Keolis has an obligation to serve us and I would be curious to contact the Commission des transports du Québec, ”concluded the mayor of Gaspé.
Keolis Canada CEO Pierre-Paul Pharand says the company is committed to restoring services as soon as possible.