Road controllers, rare officials still without collective agreement, have been distributing since Wednesday morning reports of offense for urban buses too heavy. The Capital Transportation Network (RTC) and the Lévis Transport Corporation (STLévis) denounce the pressure tactic. The Quebec government warns that it will not be patient.
The highway controllers launched the offensive everywhere in Quebec. They intercepted the popular low-floor buses of the Quebec manufacturer Novabus, whose weight on the rear axle exceeds the maximum allowed by the regulations during the thaw period.
After weighing them with a mobile system, the controllers distributed $ 262 tickets with a ban on driving until the problem was solved. Otherwise, the vehicles can be seized and the fine increased tenfold.
Nine STlévis buses were targeted, which corresponds to 9% of the fleet. At the BTI, no figures were provided, but several buses are immobilized. The public carriers of Montreal, Gatineau, Laval and Longueuil are also targeted.
“They found the right vein. In fact, we are in breach. But it’s been four years since we made representations with the government to change the standards, “said Sylvain Levesque, customer proximity and marketing director of STLévis.
“The problem is not the bus, it is the legislative amendment that would regularize the situation,” added the chairman of the RTC. Rémy Normand also notes that the vehicles are registered by the Société de l ‘assurance automobile du Québec and circulate freely elsewhere in Canada.
René Goulet, president of the Brotherhood of the Constables of the Quebec Road Traffic Control (FCCRQ), for his part has recently learned, after an information, that Novabus buses did not respect the load limits of the province. He finds it absurd that transportation companies continue to buy – and be subsidized to do so – while these vehicles are likely to damage roads even when they are empty.
Mr. Goulet admitted that it is also a way of “putting pressure on the government” to settle the collective agreement that has been in place for more than two years. Its members accepted a 56% agreement in principle reached in February 2017. However, they consider that Quebec does not respect the wage trailer clause by depriving them of an increase in the salary range granted to special constables and security guards. body.
According to the union leader, the current operation was orchestrated in a “responsible” way: “In order not to penalize the population, we waited for the buses to come back to the garage”.
The President of the Treasury Board, Pierre Arcand, does not have the same reading. “It does not happen on the part of a union, once we have an agreement in principle, to come back and ask for something else,” he said on Wednesday. Without formally speaking of a special law, the elected representative invited the union members to sign the collective agreement “otherwise the government will have decisions to make”.
His colleague Minister of Transport, André Fortin, fears an escalation of pressure tactics. “I asked the ministry to study all possible actions including legal ones to rectify the situation quickly. We can not accept the people being held hostage in this way, “he said in a statement to the Sun in the evening.
It was not possible to know what legal means was envisaged, but it could be a ministerial decree regulating the weight of buses.