Bonnardel will protect the paratransit industry
Transport Minister François Bonnardel goes to the arguments of people with reduced mobility and will amend Bill 17 to protect the paratransit industry.
The deregulation of the taxi industry proposed by the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) made the groups of people with disabilities fear a huge setback regarding their right to secure safe and reliable paratransit services.
The Sun has obtained the outlines of the amendments to Bill 17 which the CAQ wishes to have adopted over the next few days. In most cases, it is a question of maintaining protections that already exist in the current law, but that were removed in Minister Bonnardel’s Bill 17.
For example, the basic training of all paid transportation drivers in Quebec must provide for the transportation of persons with disabilities. The minister also wants to add mandatory advanced training for drivers who drive adapted automobiles and make this type of transportation their specialty.
The taxi industry has been demanding in recent months that it be the only one to enter into paratransit contracts with municipalities or transportation companies, which the minister is willing to grant. This type of contract will be reserved for the taxi industry and the 90 ¢ temporary charge will not apply to these contracts. This fee, which will be applied to all other races in Quebec for a few years, will be used to compensate taxi drivers for the loss of value of their licenses.
The CAQ government does not want other players, like Uber, to completely abandon paratransit services. That is why the bill will provide for a standard to ensure the availability of private adapted automobile transportation services within a reasonable time, regardless of how the race is commanded.
This openness to better protect paratransit was noticeable at the beginning of the study of the bill on Tuesday. The principle of promoting access for persons with disabilities to paid transportation by automobile was included, as was the definition of adapted automobile, which includes a layout that accommodates at least one wheelchair.