Disability groups decry Memphremagog adapted transport cuts

Disability groups decry Memphremagog adapted transport cuts

Jack Wilson

Local Journalism Initiative


Activists are sounding the alarm over reduced transport options for those with disabilities. As of May 26, Memphremagog’s adapted transportation service will be unavailable on weekends and after 5:30 p.m. This comes as taxi drivers, whose services were once a lifeline for those with mobility challenges, have quit in droves following the 2019 abolition of the taxi permit system.

“We’re seeing a regression in adapted transportation in the region,” said France Croteau, coordinator of the Regroupement des usagers du transport adapté de Sherbrooke Métropolitain (RUTASM), which represents local adapted transportation users. The upcoming service cuts will limit the transportation rights of people with disabilities, she said. “Disabled people have the same right to go out as everybody else.”

Bill 17, which opened the door to rideshare apps and significantly weakened the taxi industry, also impacted the disabled community. “A lot of taxi drivers quit,” Croteau said.

In 2019, taxis provided 7 million out of 9 million adapted transportation trips, said Rosanne Couture, general director of the Alliance des regroupements des usagers du transport adapté du Québec (ARUTAQ), RUTASM’s provincial counterpart. The bill “significantly compromised the transportation of disabled people in Quebec,” she said, resulting in “a shortage of drivers and a shortage of vehicles.”

Couture is calling on the transport ministry to respond. “The government now has to correct the situation,” she said. “We are asking that it swiftly launch an adapted transportation recruitment process.”


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