NEWS

Orléans Express gets approval to cut Quebec bus routes

10/12/2014 12:34 EDT | Updated 12/12/2014 05:59 EST
Orléans Express will no longer run buses to Thetford Mines and La Tuque, Que. after the province's transport commission granted the financially troubled company's request to limit service on certain regional routes.    

Many towns in Eastern Quebec will also lose their bus stops, and passengers will have to travel to nearby cities to get on board.    

Orléans Express and its parent company, Keolis, painted a bleak portrait of bus transport in Quebec during public hearings last summer.

The company told the transport commission that it was losing at least $10,000 a day and was on the verge of bankruptcy.   

Last September it received a $450,000 emergency subsidy from the Quebec government, but that wasn't enough to help the intercity bus company balance its books.

Orléans Express claims to have lost $5 million in 2013 alone.

It pointed out that the industry is having a hard time competing with online carpooling sites such as Allo-Stop.    

The solution Keolis proposed was to cut out many of its stops on regional routes and to focus on the Quebec City-Montreal corridor.   

Towns along Gaspé route hard hit 

The commission has granted almost every change Keolis sought.

The run between Trois-Rivières and La Tuque will be cancelled starting on January 15, 2015, as well as the run between Thetford-Mines and Montreal.   

The Gaspé region will also lose many of its bus stops, and buses will run less frequently.    

This also applies to stops on Highway 20 between Quebec City and Montreal.

In its decision, the transport commission said that Orléans Express proved the company had no other alternative but to trim service, in order to avoid shutting down altogether.

The company will have to provide its financial statements to the commission in one year's time, to reassess its situation.

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