Quebec City's public transit agency to launch bus service to Jean Lesage Airport

Starting in 2019, travellers arriving at Quebec City's Jean-Lesage Airport will be able to step off the tarmac and take a public bus into the city, for the first time.

Travellers now pay nearly $35 for taxi ride or walk 20 minutes from L'Ancienne-Lorette

A cab driver unloads a suitcase for a passenger at Jean-Lesage International Airport in Quebec City. (Radio-Canada)

By next year, travellers arriving at Quebec City's Jean-Lesage Airport will be able to step off the tarmac and take a public bus into the city, for the first time.

The Réseau de Transport de la Capitale (RTC) announced Tuesday a new bus, the number 6, will ply a route from downtown to the airport terminal once every 30 minutes, starting in 2019.

This means the cost of travelling between downtown and the airport will drop from $34.50 for a taxi ride to $3.50 on an RTC bus.

RTC president Rémy Normand said there have been repeated demands for a regular bus route over the years, but the transit agency needed time come up with a sustainable plan.

"We didn't want this bus to just become a shuttle to the airport," Normand said.
The RTC's new route, the number 6, will go into service sometime in 2019, travelling from Old Quebec to the airport and back every 30 minutes. (Julia Page/CBC)

Normand said the new route will also be used by regular transit users, since the bus will go by shopping centres and a movie theatre on the Duplessis Highway, which links the airport to the Pierre-Laporte Bridge.

It will then run along Laurier Boulevard in Sainte-Foy, arriving in Old Quebec via Grande-Allée.

'About time'

Quebec City is the only city in Canada with a population of 500,000 with no shuttle bus or public transit to and from the airport.

Right now, the closest RTC bus stop is in L'Ancienne-Lorette, a 20-minute walk from Jean-Lesage Airport.

On weekdays, two buses a day run by the entrance of the airport before 7:30 in the morning and three leave between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. They are mostly used by employees. There is no bus service on weekends.

The lack of options for travellers was brought to public attention in October 2016, when taxi drivers refused to service the airport for 11 hours in a show of protest against the Uber ride-sharing application.

Organizations that advocate for better public transportation in the city said this will be a game-changer.

"It was about time we offered an efficient, affordable connection from downtown to the airport," said Étienne Grandmont, the general manager of Accès Transports Viables.

Équiterre's Steven Guilbeault also welcomed the news.

"We are eliminating another barrier and offering an alternative for citizens and workers who want to lessen their dependence on their car," said Guilbeault.

With files from Radio-Canada