MONTRÉAL, May 5, 2016 – The intercity transport division of Keolis Canada, Autocars Orléans Express, is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with the Gaspé region for additional bus service to the tip of the peninsula. In April, following the Commission des Transports du Québec hearings (CTQ, the Quebec transportation board), regionally elected officials and representatives from the business sector began working with various stakeholders towards finding optimal transportation solutions for passengers in the region. All going as planned, the current agreement will remain in effect for a year, and provide for an investment of as much as $37,500. Among other things, these funds will enable us to provide service to Percé (passengers), extend the route through to Gaspé, add stops in New Richmond (passengers and parcels) and Port-Daniel (passengers and parcels) on the south side, and serve Cap-Chat (passengers) on the north side. Keolis Canada is also taking the opportunity to announce that, in response to consumer demand, a request to amend bus scheduling will be submitted to the Commission des Transports du Québec (CTQ) with the intent of enabling passengers to travel by day between Montréal/Québec City and Gaspésie.
“At the public hearings on March 14, we heard citizens and elected representatives loud and clear about service in Gaspésie. It was really important for us to keep the dialogue going, while working in conjunction with all stakeholders. A number of working sessions came together quickly and regional decision-makers were open to discussing lasting solutions,” explained Marie Hélène Cloutier, Vice-President of Passenger Experience, Marketing and Commercialization.
“I am delighted to witness such genuine cooperation and open communication around improving service in the Gaspé, an outcome that is fundamentally aligned with our primary mission: transporting people,” added Patrick Gilloux, President and Chief Operating Officer for Keolis Canada. “Now we have consensus, all we need is approval and rapid implementation.”
Approval process underway
The request for the scheduling change and new points of service must follow proper CTQ channels: it must be posted in the busses for 10 days before an official request may be presented to the CTQ. Ideally, the changes would take effect in early July. To formalize the project, the funding application must be endorsed by municipal resolution and reviewed by the province’s department of transportation, the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ).
Approval of a subsidy plan by the MTQ would help to add new points of service and extend the bus route, which are considered service enhancements. Although providing service in Gaspésie is unprofitable for Keolis Canada, the subsidy should allow the company to cover costs directly related to improving the service offering. The subsidy is three times the municipal sector contribution, up to $150,000 per annum.
Gaspésie is a priority
“Many municipal stakeholders have also worked on studying and designing the service offering, including the drivers’ union, who has welcomed the proposed changes to work time, for which we are very grateful,” concluded Ms. Cloutier. “Everyone involved has shown such diligence throughout and, ultimately, it is the passengers and communities in Gaspé that win. In fact, adding service to Port-Daniel is our way of supporting the new Port-Daniel-Gascon cement plant project.”
Other areas of Québec, including Côte-Nord and Abitibi-Témiscamingue, receive financial assistance under the government subsidy program, which helps to maintain intercity bus transportation services.
About Keolis Canada
Keolis Canada is a Franco-Quebecois company with a team of more than 900 experienced employees. It specializes in passenger bus service in Québec, providing superior, reliable and safe intercity, chartered, airport, urban and school bus transportation services, in addition to paratransit. Keolis Canada operates a fleet of 396 vehicles. On a yearly basis, Keolis Canada transports close to 1 million passengers and over 1 million parcels. Keolis Canada is owned by the Keolis Group (France).
The Keolis Group develops customized mobility solutions adapted to the changing needs of passengers and the requirements of the communities that it serves. A leader in urban transportation in France, the Keolis Group is a major player in the public transportation of passengers in Europe and around the world. The Keolis Group is owned by SNCF (70%) and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (30%).
Marie Hélène Cloutier
Vice-President, Passenger Experience Marketing and Commercialization
Keolis Canada Inc.
Information (media only):
Raphaëlle Cyr-Lelièvre Senior Advisor Hill+Knowlton Strategies Telephone: 418-425-0986