• John Jantak

Pincourt unhappy with higher costs for regional public transit


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A CIT La Presqu’Île number 35 bus on Joseph-Lafléche Avenue in Pincourt. The merger of 16 North Shore and South Shore public transit entities into two distinct bodies will result in the eventual phase out of the CIT, which also operates the Transport Soleil adapted transit unit.

Pincourt adopted a resolution at the Tuesday evening council meeting April 11, requesting the provincial government reconsider changes that were imposed on the region’s public transit system which could adversely affect the quality and increase the cost of services currently provided.

Bill 76, which was adopted by the Quebec National Assembly in May 2016, merged the public transit services of 16 North Shore and South Shore municipalities into two bodies, one dedicated to providing train and bus service and the other to plan bus and train routes.

It means the Conseil intermunicipale du transport (CIT) La Presqu’Île, which also provides adapted transit services through Transport Soleil, will be phased out and replaced with a new operational body. Municipalities will also lose their ability to design their own routes to the new planning body, two factors which have caused dissension among regional off-island mayors affected by the changes.

Preserving quality service

“The reason behind our resolution is to tell all our citizens about the position of the Town of Pincourt,” Mayor Yvan Cardinal told Your Local Journal. “It’s about preserving the quality of service we’ve established over the past few years and maintaining it at a reasonable cost. The money that we invest into the service is something that we want to keep for our citizens.”

Cardinal pointed out the CIT Number 35 bus route that runs between the Dorion train station and John Abbott College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue as a prime example of how important the service has become for Pincourt residents.

From a simple mini-bus route that began operating minimally only during weekday rush hours, it has evolved into a major, mid-size bus route that serves Pincourt, Île Perrot and Vaudreuil-Dorion residents and operates seven days a week, morning until night.

Increase in cost of service

While the province may have had good intentions trying to make public transit more efficient by regulating fares and routes through two new entities, Town Manager Michel Perrier expects the cost of service will increase as the committees take charge.

“The cost of transportation without adding any new services, just keeping the same base that we have right now, would cost $8 million more than the current cost for the South Shore, which includes us. What we’ve also noticed is the cost for Montreal is going down,” said Perrier.

“We salute the effort by the government to improve service, but we should not have to pay extra costs because of a change in organization. We’ve been running and administering our service for an affordable cost. There’s no way we want to pay more,” said Perrier.

District 5 Councillor Jim Miron, who is also Vice-President of both the CIT La Presqu’Île and Transport Soleil, said he’s concerned about what the integration of services into two major bodies will do to the quality of service for regular users.

“I find it’s just a cash grab,” said Miron. “They’re turning everything around to make sure Montreal gets its costs reduced and that everybody else in the (Montreal Metropolitan Community) ends up paying for it. Especially when you take the North and South Shores including Laval and Longueil, we have more population than the entire Island of Montreal.”

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