Trois-Rivieres, Tuesday, November 28, 2000 Inspite of the fact that during the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Commission intermunicipale de transport Des Forges (CITF) held this morning, the Chairman of the Board and Mayor of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Mr. Croteau, announced that the CITF had abandoned certain cuts in service already scheduled, the cut in routes 5 and 8, commencing at 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and 6 p.m. on Saturday will be implemented. The CITF is also reorganizing routes 2, 3 and 7 in an attempt to make up for the lack of service in the territory caused by the cutting of routes 5 and 8.
“This decision is totally unacceptable; it increases the distances users will have to walk as well as their waiting time. Those who can afford to use their personal vehicle, will no doubt do so more often, while the most disadvantaged will continue to see their situation deteriorate,” protested Luc Giroux, president of Local 4115 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (drivers for the CITF).
A partial victory for the Coalition: the users and the union
“Close to 10,000 people signed a petition calling for the current service to be maintained while extending the service on Saturdays until 1 a.m. and providing a basic service on Sundays. This petition was also supported by a number of organizations representing over 20,000 members. These signatories continue to support our actions today, since our task of informing the public is not over yet,” added Mr. Giroux.
Increased rates and a lack of social vision on the part of elected officials
“We can only note a lack of social vision among elected officials while, once again, the proposed rate increase, seven times higher than the cost of living increase, will be born by those in most need: the working poor, welfare families and the elderly. Our elected officials are making the users pay for the shortfall caused by the poverty of their contributions to the CITF. In fact, the municipalities’ participation in the CITF continues to be 15% lower than the Quebec average of 37%,” explained Ren 0046rc0068ette, Union Representative in this file.
Realistic solutions rejected out-of-hand
It should be noted, that on September 8 of this year, the bus-drivers’ union publicly proposed six solutions, generating revenues of $709,392, to which a regional lottery could have been introduced with the participation of Loto-Quebec to establish regular funding of a quality public transport service. These solutions were never even considered by the CITF.
“Our proposals had the advantage of ensuring that funding to maintain and improve our public transport service would be assumed by those who had the means. Nevertheless, elected officials lacked the political courage necessary. Rather than acting on behalf of the interests of the citizens, the users of the public transport system, they chose to follow their political and personal interests,” declared Luc Giroux.
What are provincial elected representatives doing for the region?
“Our provincial elected representatives, headed by Minister Guy Julien, who, in the beginning, was extremely favourable to our proposal, have become increasingly silent as time goes by. Recently, these officials informed us that the public transport problems had to be considered from a wider point of view and that we would have to wait until the city merger had been implemented before any decisions were made,” declared the president of the bus-drivers’ union.
“After having voted themselves comfortable salary increases of some $9,000 in Quebec, the message that our provincial elected representatives are sending to the most disadvantaged in the region by their silence is be patient and walk. We cannot tolerate this attitude and will do everything in our power to force the provincial and municipal officials to assume their responsibilities towards the poorest members of our society, who are also electors. We remind them of this today and will remind them again in the future,” concluded Mr. Giroux.
SOURCE: CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (QFL)
Luc Giroux, (819) 370-7218
Ren 0046rc0068ette, (514) 893-0634
Louis Cauchy, (514) 384-9681, extension 270