Nearly 800 non-compliant school buses on Quebec streets

There are approximately 800 propane-powered buses in Quebec’s fleet of 10,650 school vehicles. Most of them are equipped with green bumpers, which until this week were tolerated on the road network, even if the transport law requires them to be black.

The Regulations on Road Vehicles for the Transport of Students stipulate that the bumpers must be black or dark grey, with the exception of those on the fully electric school bus, which must be blue.

Source: Quebec Transportation Law

Félix Guévin is President of Groupe Guévin, a school bus company in Saint-Léonard-d’Aston.

Photo: Radio Canada / Martin Chabot

I thought it was an April Fool’s joke, admits Félix Guévin, president of the Guévin Group, a school transporter from Saint-Léonard-d’Aston in the Center-du-Québec region. One of his company’s drivers contacted him after being stopped by a traffic controller. She drove a propane bus with a green bumper. She had to be escorted to a workshop where the bumper had to be painted black with a spray can.

This is what Groupe Guévin employees are actively working on: repainting the bumpers of 20 of the 80 propane-powered buses in their fleet as soon as possible.

children hostage

Félix Guévin knows that spray paint is temporary because it is not permanent. However, if he wants to avoid service interruptions, he has no choice but to activate.

The risks are huge, because if our vehicles are stopped like this every day, we won’t have enough buses to take care of them. We need to replace our bumpers as soon as possible.

It’s a bit like taking the kids hostageis outraged Luc Lafrance, President of the Federation of Bus Companies. At the rate it’s gone, I’m concerned if there will be enough buses to take the kids home at the end of the day when they can’t use their cars.

Mr Lafrance mentions that some of his members have already received violations because of the color of their bumpers, but the buses have never been taken off the road.

I understand the SAAQ regulations on securityargues Felix Guévin. If a wheel isn’t legal, if there are poorly made welds… I can understand that. There it really is the color of a bumper, so it doesn’t change the safety of the vehicle.

He will therefore turn to the company that sold him his buses: Girardin.

security reasons

Mr. Labrie poses in front of a line of buses.

“We firmly believe that green bumpers are a very important safety element, just like blue bumpers on electric vehicles,” says Michel Labrie, Sales Manager at Autobus Girardin.

Photo: Radio Canada / Martin Chabot

Michel Labrie, sales manager at Autobus Girardin in Drummondville, also receives a flood of calls from his customers.

We firmly believe that green bumpers are a very important safety element, just like blue bumpers on electric vehicles.

For several years, Girardin and other stakeholders in the Quebec sector have been demanding that transportation law require green bumpers to be associated with propane buses. Blue bumpers were officially approved for electric vehicles last summer. However, the Ministry of Transport has not complied with the request for the green bumpers.

According to various stakeholders interviewed, the main purpose of the different colors is to identify the type of fuel in order to facilitate the intervention of first responders in the event of accidents. Specific interventions or precautions are required depending on the type of fuel or propulsion of the vehicles.

It’s really a question of safety, especially since the road traffic regulations are being revised., argues Réjean Breton, President and Director General of the Association of Professionals of the Troubleshooting of Quebec (APDQ). He attended consultative tables with that Quebec Automobile Insurance Corporation and the Department of Transport to try to make his point, to no avail.

We will continue to work with the government to ensure green bumpers are an important safety feature that is acceptedargues Michel Labrie of Girardin.

For its part, the Ministry of Transport has no intention of changing the law. “The analyzes of the Ministère and the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec show that the installation of green bumpers is not an internationally or in North America recognized and used identification method for the identification of heavy propane gas vehicles,” says its spokesman Louis – André Bertrand.

Get started buying propane buses

Children sit in a school bus.

The first propane-powered vehicles appeared in Quebec five years ago.

Photo: Radio Canada / Martin Chabot

The first propane-powered vehicles appeared in Quebec five years ago. Most of them are therefore considered in good condition by the Bus Carriers Federation. Last autumn, before the purchase obligation for electric buses came into force, many transport companies bought electric buses.

There was no propane bus inspection operation planned by the managers and directors of Contrôle Route Québecshow the Quebec Automobile Insurance Corporation. Apparently, these interventions were carried out as part of pressure from the road maintenance workers’ unionadds Gino Desrosiers, Media Relations Coordinator.

As for the Transport Minister’s office, nobody was able to answer our questions on Wednesday evening.

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