The government needs to inject cash to keep transport companies afloat because they are now on a “death spiral”, believes United MP Étienne Grandmont, dismayed that the government is ignoring his party’s repeated demands.
• Also read: Funeral for STM’s “10 Minute Max Network”.
The decline in ridership means that transport companies, whose revenues depend largely on users, are less well funded. “Less revenue translates to worse service, as in Montreal where the STM is no longer guaranteeing its ’10 minute maximum’ service on several of the routes it has developed with this in mind,” said supporting MP Étienne Grandmont a press conference on Friday in Parliament.
Photo agency QMI, Marcel Tremblay
“Less frequent passages, it serves less well, and therefore fewer people use it,” he added, describing the situation as a “death spiral” and “vicious cycle.”
In the next few years, this situation could result in a “shortfall” for transport companies of up to $900 million in 2027, according to the elected representative, based on a study by the Association du Urban Transport of Quebec (ATUQ).
Québec solidaire therefore reiterates its proposal to release emergency funds immediately in order to avoid a reduction in public transport. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois personally presented this application to the Prime Minister during their private meeting on Tuesday.
Surprised that his party’s repeated requests in this regard remained unanswered, Étienne Grandmont denounced the “inconsistency” of the CAQ in this file.
“François Bonnardel, when he worked in transport, promised not to let down transport companies in this somewhat crazy context of the COVID-19 pandemic. When we speak to the new Minister for Transport and Sustainable Mobility, it becomes much less clear.
But new transport minister Geneviève Guilbault last month opened up to a review of how transport companies are funded.
When pointed out, Étienne Grandmont recognizes that this revision is important given the currently outdated way of financing transport companies, but argues that the urgency of the situation requires greater effort.
Minister Guilbault’s office was asked to respond, recalling that the government had provided $1.7 billion in aid to transport companies during the pandemic to offset the drop in ridership.
“We are in regular contact with these organisations, as well as with the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority and local authorities to support them. We will present solutions in the coming months,” it said in a written statement.