CUPE’s Conseil provincial du secteur transport terrestre (CPSTT), which represents 8400 bus drivers and employees of public transit companies, has regrettably observed that public transit services are considered second rate.

“Public transit benefits all citizens. Whether or not you’re a user, you do benefit from public transit, either in the form of lighter traffic or reduced greenhouse gas levels. As is the case with the health care and education systems, public transit must be adequately funded to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of always raising fares on passengers,” added Simon Mathura, president of the CPSTT.

By not covering deficits and passing off the bill to passengers and to municipal governments, the Quebec government is acting irresponsibly. This approach has immediate adverse effects of services, which will be scaled back or simply cut. The funding of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) and its guaranteed rate of return of 8% to the CDPQ infra accounts for the huge deficits in transit company revenues.

Workers in our hospitals and educational institutions provide indispensable services to the public and often take public transit to work, as do persons taking training or receiving care in clinics or hospitals. In several regions across Quebec, the economic and social life of residents hinges on public transit.