Montreal

Eastern Quebec ferry service suspended until Tuesday

Starting Thursday, cars and trucks must take an 800-kilometre detour through Quebec City.

Travellers must take 800-km detour

Cars disembark from the F.-A.-Gauthier ferry in Godbout, Que.. in this archival photo. (Marc-Antoine Mongeau/Radio-Canada)

Both ferries serving drivers in eastern Quebec are out of commission.

Starting Thursday, cars and trucks must take an 800-kilometre detour through Quebec City to cross the St. Lawrence River.

The NM Trans-Saint-Laurent, which connects Rivière-du-Loup to Saint-Siméon in the Charlevoix region, made its last trip Wednesday and will undergo repairs over the next eight weeks.

The NM F.-A.-Gauthier, serving residents of the North Shore and the Gaspé, has been out of commission since Dec. 17.

Replacement air service between Matane, Baie Comeau, and Sept-Îles​ will remain in place until Tuesday, Jan. 8, when a temporary ferry service will take over for the short-term.

Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel has criticized the Société des traversiers du Québec, the Crown corporation that runs the ferries, for not finding a solution that would keep at least one ferry operational at all times.

Interim Parti Québecois Leader Pascal Berubé told CBC's Quebec AM he wants a permanent backup ferry to be available to make sure drivers can get across the St. Lawrence in eastern Quebec.

Berubé says those maritime links are crucial for regional businesses and for residents and tourists, and the current lack of ferry service is bad for the region's economy.

The stoppage is expected to disrupt commuters as well as businesses that rely on supplies trucked from one side of the St. Lawrence to the other.

With files from La Presse Canadienne

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