Intercity transportation – government must act!
17 June 2020
Quebec City, June 16, 2020 – Since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, bus drivers engaged in intercity transportation have been laid off. Despite the resumption of economic activities, companies in this sector are paralyzed by sanitary measures which are impossible to reconcile with the profitability of the service.
The Service Employees Union, Local 800 (SEU 800-FTQ) representing more than 500 workers of the urban, interurban, school and charter transportation industry in Quebec, joins in with other unions to demand that the government take action and financially support businesses in that sector.
Despite the fact that interurban transport is an essential service for a large part of the population, carriers cannot resume providing the service connecting, for example, Montreal, Quebec, Trois‑Rivières and Sherbrooke, as long as the profitability of travel is not there. “According to the two-meter distance rules, buses used for intercity transport can only carry a little more than a dozen passengers. It’s not even half the capacity of the bus. In addition, investments must be made to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers. In this situation, there is no profitability, and therefore it is impossible to resume service without government support. Explains Philippe Viens, union representative.
The SEU 800- FTQ represents 24,000 workers, including bus drivers working of the companies Autobus La Québecoise Inc., Autobus Nordiques Inc., Autocars Orléans Express Inc. and VÉOLIA Transdev (Limocar). The SEU 800 is affiliated to the Quebec Federation of Workers, the largest trade union in Quebec, with more than 600,000 members.