By Peter Black
It was a perfect move. Planned to the T. Military precision. Load up rental truck early in the morning in Quebec City, drive to Montreal, unload kid’s stuff in apartment, drop truck off at depot, walk to Berri bus station, board bus, enjoy ride back, blissed out that everything went so smoothly. Except.
Except times have changed and so has the experience of traveling between le grand metropole and la capitale nationale. “Billet aller Québec le prochain bus, s’il vous plaît.” This is at about 7 p.m. Guy at the wicket tries not to laugh in my face.
“Complet, monsieur.” OK, what about the next one? Another restrained guffaw. Switching to English out of compassion. “There are no more buses tonight, sir.”
All booked up, by folks who knew enough to reserve a seat in advance. People who had taken a bus post-pandemic and knew the new way of doing things in the inter-city transit game.
So, doomed was I to trek out to the west end and crash on an in-laws couch, until, thanks to an observant security guard and that surprisingly empathetic guy at the wicket, I was informed someone had cancelled and a seat was now, by miracle, available.