Negotiations between carriers and the school network: thousands of students risk being deprived of buses

Negotiations between carriers and the school network: thousands of students risk being deprived of buses

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About two weeks before the start of the school year, the impasse persists between carriers and the school network, so that thousands of students in Montreal, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Gatineau risk being deprived of buses when returning in class.

This year, approximately 60% of school transportation contracts expired at the end of June and must now be renewed for a few years.

Gold , school carriers refuse to sign new contracts because they believe that the bonus granted by Quebec at the end of June within the framework of budgetary rules is not enough to offset the increase in costs.

“The bonus is unfortunately not enough to allow carriers to cover all costs, such as fuel, labor, parts for maintenance and repair, which have experienced staggering increases,” says Luc Lafrance, President and CEO of the Federation of Bus Carriers.

The Federation of School Service Centers of Quebec (FCSSQ) believes, on the contrary, that “all the conditions are now met in order to succeed in enter into negotiated agreements.”

Problematic major centres

In the regions, some arrangements have been concluded recently, but it is especially in the major centers “that this poses a problem” since the increase in costs is greater there , specifies Luc Lafrance. 

The cost of parking spaces for buses is higher in the metropolis than in Gaspésie, he says.

Students from Montreal, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Gatineau could therefore find themselves without transportation at the start of the school year. The risk is very real, recognizes Mr. Lafrance. 

“We always have discussions with the ministry, we do not wish it on anyone, but it could perhaps happen, indeed”, leaves he fall.

Looking for a plan B

In the school network, we are preparing for any eventuality, but there is no question of postponing the start of the school year. “All schools will offer educational services as scheduled in the school calendar. Nevertheless, school service centers are analyzing possible solutions to welcome students at the start of the school year,” said Caroline Dupré, President and CEO of the FCSSQ, who limited herself to a statement in a press release yesterday.

According to the Federation, an additional $200 million has been invested by Quebec in school transportation since 2017, an increase of more than 30%.

For his part, the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, wanted to be reassuring. “I am convinced that we will find solutions and that the children will be transported for the start of the school year,” he told the Journal on Wednesday. 

He This is a priority file that is “on top of the pile” and is the subject of daily discussions, he added. 

School transportation in Quebec < /h3>

  • Some 11,000 bus drivers
  • More than 556,315 students transported each day
  • Nearly 943,690 kilometers traveled daily
  • More than 10,970 school vehicles on the roads morning and evening

Source: Federation of Bus Carriers

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