Un autobus du Réseau de transport de Longueuil. Photo archives SCFP An open letter from the CUPE land transportation sector appeared in two major Quebec dailies (Journal de Montréal and Le Devoir), advising the provincial Minister of Transportation, François Bonnardel, of the virtually irreparable consequences that would result if he allowed the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) to cut public transit service in the Greater Montreal Area.

The ARTM is holding a public meeting at 2:00 pm today, in which the possibility of demanding major cuts to the transit company budgets will be raised. The letter goes on to state that:

“This week, we were stunned to learn that the budgets of transit companies in the Greater Montreal Area will be subject to massive cuts, but this time, they apply to 2022, 2023 and 2024, well after the pandemic. As a result, some are even talking about a possible 15 per cent to 20 per cent service reduction, which is unacceptable.

At a time when experts and world leaders are emphasizing the importance of a green economic recovery, your Ministry of Transportation will be responsible for a major downsizing of public transit in the metropolitan area, including the North Shore and the South Shore. Given the recent announcement of expenditures of close to $10 billion, your Ministry still seems to have money to spend.”

Of course, this is in reference to the government’s announcement that $10 billion will be earmarked for the construction of a controversial two-level tunnel in the Quebec City region.

“This decision is irresponsible and shows absolutely no vision. Scaling down public transit at rush hour will not enable Quebec to achieve its objectives. Show some leadership Mr. Bonnardel and act quickly,” the letter goes on to say.