Almost 100 school buses are making a yellow line on Highway 40 as drivers and owners of school bus companies head to the National Assembly in Quebec City with demands for better financing of school bus transportation.
“I’m driving the bus out here for my employees and me too because the situation is attenable,” said Autobus Beaconsfield owner Andrew Jones.
The protest is the second this week that has highlighted how rising fuel costs, in addition to other inflation-related stresses, have made operating a school bus company extremely difficult.
Quebec truckers protest soaring fuel costs on Monday.
The party Quebecois came out this week in support of school bus drivers and service providers, asking the Ministry of Education to shell out more funds to stop disruptions in Quebec’s school transportation system.
Bus routes in the province continue to be canceled due to lack of resources. The Center de services des Samares in Lanaudiere, for example, has canceled between 2,000 and 3,000 routes since September.
Jones said that at over $ 2.50-per-liter for diesel owners are struggling to stay in the black, let alone give drivers the wages they have been asking for.
The price of regular gasoline and diesel fuel is displayed at a gas station in Montreal on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Paul Chiasson
Contracts for school bus companies are up June 30.
Saturday’s protest was spearheaded by the CSN union in collaboration with the FSIC and Teamsters (FTQ) unions.
“The drivers are spearheading this movement for the first time owners and drivers are working hand-in-hand,” said Jones.