The UTACQ represents 75 transportation services that cover more than 800 municipalities in quebec. In total, nearly 40,000 people with disabilities benefit from these services.
13 June 2020
Updated on June 14, 2020 to 4h18
The transportation industry has adapted is worried about its funding, based on ridership
A volume decrease of 95 % has been recorded in accessible transportation during the month of April. Marc-André Oats, president of the Union of accessible transportation and collectives du Québec (UTACQ) is concerned that the funding is not at the rendezvous this year, since the grant Program for adapted transportation (ASPA) sets out the government contribution based on the number of trips.
“We have lost 95 % of the number of moves, so it becomes difficult to reach the thresholds set by the ASPA,” begins Mr. Oats. The latter claims to have stopped the department of Transportation from the beginning of the pandemic. “It provides for a period of 12 to 24 months before everything returns to normal”, he adds.
By then, the president of the UTACQ wishes to continue to maintain the frequency of transport adapted, despite the drastic decrease of the goodwill. “The financial support from the government is required to pass through the crisis and be ready when it will resume”, he points out.
The rest of the financial set-up to operate the service comes from users and municipalities. Mr. Oats does not want however not see these last inject more money to alleviate the “disengagement” of the provincial government : “municipalities are also big challenges facing the COVID-19.”
“No one wants cuts in this service”
While waiting for the answer of the ministry of Transport, Mr. Oats is concerned about the future of paratransit in the province. “I do not think anyone would desire that you cup in this service, but it is certain that there will be choices to make.”
Of paratransit users do not want the reduction of this service. This is particularly the case of Sylvie Roy, suffering from ataxia Friedrich, a neurodegenerative disease. The resident of the Côte-de-Beaupré uses the transport adapted for persons with reduced mobility approximately three times per month : to get to his medical appointments, do shopping, meet friends, go for a walk in the Old Quebec, etc “It allows me to leave home and choose where I want to go and what I want to do during the time that I’m still able.” Ms. Roy does not wish the service to be reduced or cut, because it brings him a certain degree of autonomy.
“It’s much more fun to choose us-even the things that you want to do that ask someone to give us a lift. ”
Mr. Oats stated that, beyond transportation, it is also a mode of public transport. “For years, we try to carry all of the world at the best possible cost and as quickly as possible… but the paradigm has changed, therefore, it requires adaptation for all the world,” he concludes.
The ASPA seeks to support municipalities to enable them to ensure the mobility of persons with disabilities. “The financial assistance to 2020 is first of all the determination of a contribution basis set as a function of operating expenses, and trips made by persons admitted to 2018”, we can read on the website of the ministry of Transport. In 2019, the minister François Bonnardel confirmed investment of $ 111 million $ in paratransit service. This envelope is intended for the companies of public transport and other services in the region. The UTACQ today represents 75 transportation services that cover more than 800 municipalities in quebec. In total, nearly 40,000 people with disabilities benefit from these services.