(Quebec) The Parti Québécois (PQ) is asking the Government of Quebec to grant emergency assistance to the public transit sector so that public companies are able to maintain the service offer throughout Quebec.
The third opposition party hopes that this support will be announced in the budget that the Minister of Finance, Éric Girard, will table on March 21 in the National Assembly.
The PQ spokesperson for Transport and Sustainable Mobility, MP Joël Arseneau, points out that the Association of Urban Transporters of Quebec estimates that for 2023, the shortfall will be 565 million for Quebec transport companies. In his opinion, this amount is needed now to maintain the service offer and avoid a spiral of decline in public companies.
Last fall, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) announced that it forecast a deficit of some $78 million for this year. A few weeks later, it said it was forced to abolish its “10 minutes max” line service.
Joël Arseneau fears that a lack of investment will establish a vicious circle where users will quietly abandon public transit because of its lack of attractiveness. It also recalls that promoting the use of public transit is essential to achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.
The MNA for Îles-de-la-Madeleine also wants a reform of the public transit funding system, as well as a balance between investments between public transit and road transportation.
He points out that the transportation habits of Quebecers have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.