Bus Transportation Modes

Intercity transit

To travel from one city to the next safely and without concern, intercity transportation is the perfect choice. Serving 477 municipalities in Quebec, the 15 private motorcoach transportation companies provide quality services so you may travel at a low cost in confidence while protecting the environment.

Accessible to all, the intercity transportation network consists of more than 200 bus stations throughout Quebec for efficient, timely travel. Travel by motorcoach for your business meetings, to visit relatives and friends, or to reach Canadian/American destinations.

Please contact the following carriers for more information:

Where can I buy my ticket?

You need only a few clicks to buy your bus ticket online, since several intercity bus service providers have transactional Websites. You may also purchase your ticket at a bus station the same day you leave. If your trip requires one or more transfers (between intercity bus service providers), you can buy your fares for the entire trip.

You can easily find the carriers' contact information in the "Membership Directory" section. Please select the type of transportation needed and the carriers' complete contact information will be displayed.

How far in advance must I book a Ticket?

Tickets can be purchased in advance, but in order to ensure you will be able to board the motorcoach, it is recommended to arrive at least a half hour before scheduled time of departure.

Can my 8 year-old travel alone in the intercity transit network?

No. Children eight years old or under must be accompanied by a person of at least 14 years of age.

How can I access the Program for Children Travelling Alone?

Simply make a request to your intercity carrier or to an agent at the terminal's ticket counter.

How does the Program for Children Travelling Alone work?

The following regulations are in place to ensure that the program runs smoothly:
Upon ticket purchase prior to departure, the person responsible for the child must fill in and sign the form in the presence of the ticket agent.
When the child boards, the driver checks with the person responsible for the child to make sure the name of the person who will meet the child at the destination is correctly identified on the form.

Upon arrival, the driver checks the identity of the person meeting the child and has this person sign the form.
If no one comes to meet the child, the terminal director phones the person who is named on the form to find out why he/she is absent or delayed. If the director feels it is necessary, the police will be called. Children travelling alone are never left with unidentified persons, nor are they left alone in the terminal.

What recommendations and procedures are given to parents or guardians concerning the Program for Children Travelling Alone?

You are asked to:

  • Go to the ticket counter 30 minutes before departure.
  • Fill in the document for children travelling alone and acquaint yourself with the conditions stipulated therein.
  • Mark all luggage with the child's name.
  • Find the child a seat near the driver. Tell the child to stay seated during travel and show him/her where the washroom is.
  • In case a bus transfer is required during the child’s travel, make sure he/she can carry his/her own luggage.
  • Inform the person meeting the child of scheduled departure and arrival times so the person can be there on time to meet the child.

Do bus tickets have expiry dates?

Most round-trip tickets are open tickets valid for a year. It is however recommended to check with the carrier upon purchase.

How long before departure time must I arrive at the terminal?

It is recommended to arrive at the terminal at least 30 minutes prior to schedule time of departure.

What are the maximum size and weight restrictions for my luggage?

Each passenger is allowed a maximum of two baggages weighing no more than 34 kg (75 lbs) and measuring at the most 60 X 60 X 90 cm (24 x 24 x 36 in) each, to be placed in the vehicle’s lower baggage holds. You are also allowed one carry-on luggage, which will be placed in the overhead bins above the seat. Extra luggage will be accepted but carries additional fees. Contact your carrier directly as said fees vary from one carrier to the other. Please note that no extra fees are added on chartered buses.

Is it possible to travel with a family pet?

No animals are allowed aboard the buses, including in the baggage holds. Only trained and certified guide dogs are permitted aboard.

Is it possible to transport a bicycle in the baggage hold of a bus?

Rules for transporting bicycles vary from one company to the next. It is recommended to visit the carrier’s website or contact the departure terminal for more information.

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Urban Transit

Urban transit companies:

All these organizations are gathered within an association called Association du transport urbain au Québec (ATUQ).

What is the role of the Association du transport urbain au Québec (ATUQ)?

ATUQ, the association grouping together all nine major transit corporations in Quebec, represents its members with the general public, various partners and levels of government, the main objective behind its coordination and representation efforts being to promote collective transport.

What is the role of Municipal and Inter-municipal Transit Organizations (OMIT) ?

An OMIT is an organization providing collective urban transportation to the population. OMITs do not have the authority to operate public transit networks and therefore must rely on an organization holding a permit from the Commission des transports du Québec to manage its network.

What is the role of an Inter-municipal Transit Board (CIT)?

CITs provide transit services in the Greater Montreal region, allowing for easy commute to the city for suburban residents, thus responding to their educational, professional, recreational or medical needs.

What is the role of a Regional Public Transport Board (CRT)?

There is only one Regional public transport board: Lanaudière. It groups together several regional county municipalities (MRC) to provide better public transit services to area residents.

What is the role of the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT)?

Part of AMT’s mission is to improve commuting efficiency for residents of the Greater Montreal Area through increased public transit services. In doing so, the transportation agency actively participates in environment conservation and in the maintenance of quality standards of urban living.

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Regional and Rural Transportation

What is the ATCRQ's role?

The Association des transports collectifs ruraux du Québec provides a one-stop service for the development of public transportation at the regional and rural level.

It represents public transportation organizations with various authorities to promote public transportation development in a rural environment.

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Paratransit

Paratransit is a complementary public transit service that facilitates the travels of persons with reduced mobility or those with a cognitive disability, so that they can participate fully in the development of their community.

Since late 2005, the Quebec government requires that every municipality offer specialized transit to its population, which has resulted in a vast paratransit network covering most of the province’s territory. Paratransit users who qualify as such with their municipality or regional county municipality (MRC) can thus travel and have access to services that meet their needs. Organizations offering paratransit operate with reservation policies. Therefore, we recommend contacting them at least 48 hours before your departure to make sure the service is available to you.

With the intent to increase its vehicle fleet and meet the growing demands for specialized services, the ministère des Transports du Québec (Quebec transport department) unveiled its Policy Respecting Public Transit in June 2006. One section of the policy specifically aims at answering this demand through a grant program for adapting taxis and intercity motorcoaches, making them wheelchair accessible.

Who is paratransit for?

Specialized transit services are for people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities that prevent them from using regular public transit.

What are the eligibility criteria for using specialized transit ?

Specialized transit services – or paratransit - are adapted to the specific needs of persons with a disability that greatly impairs their mobility.

Thus, will be deemed eligible for paratransit, a person who meets the following two requirements:

  1. Being a disabled person, which means having a significant and chronic handicap that limits your ability to carry out normal activities;
  2. Having such limitations with regards to mobility that would warrant the use of paratransit service. Only the following significant limitations will be considered relevant in determining admissibility to paratransit:
  • inability to walk 400 metres on level ground;
  • inability to climb up a 35-centimetre step with support, or the inability to climb down such a step without support;
  • inability to carry out an entire commute with regular public transit;
  • inability to perceive time or orient oneself in a given environment;
  • inability to control situations or behaviours that could be detrimental to one’s safety or the safety of others;
  • inability to communicate verbally or through gestures, in association with another significant disability.

You city or town’s specialized transit service offices will provide you with the application form for admissibility which includes a list of required documents.

For further information, please refer to the Eligibility for Paratransit policy of the ministère des Transports.

How can I find specialized transit in Quebec?

Get in touch with your municipality or regional county municipality (MRC) where they will give you the contact information of the organization providing the service on their territory.

What are the conditions for using specialized transit in my area?

Organizations offering specialized transit on their territory have their own operating rules, including with regards to advanced booking and fares. The easiest way to plan you travels is to communicate with them directly.

Where can I find information about services available for people with disabilities?

The Office des personnes handicapées du Québec (OPHQ) is an organization that works to ensure the quality of life and social integration of people with disabilities. It oversees ongoing efforts to improve opportunities and services for people with disabilities. It also coordinates actions to deliver services to the disabled and their families.

Kéroul is an organization whose mission is to make tourism and culture accessible to persons with limited mobility. It also works together with governments and businesses to increase accessibility. Kéroul has put together a tourism directory called “Le Québec accessible”, which assesses some 1,000 establishments and points of interest in Quebec based on the organization's accessibility criteria.

Specialized transit organizations can also help, most of them being members of one association: l’Union des transports adaptés et collectifs du Québec (UTACQ).

Is there an organization representing paratransit users?

Yes. The Alliance des Regroupements des Usagers du Transport Adapté du Québec (ARUTAQ), whose mission is to support user groups, promote the development and improvement of specialized transit services and maintain relations between the various stakeholders in the field. It also takes various actions to ensure the respect of individuals’ rights to adequate and safe services.

Which establishments offer services to the disabled?

There is a multitude of establishments that work to welcome people with a physical or cognitive disability. For tourism and culture, visit Kéroul’s website or purchase their tourism directory.

What government assistance programs are available for specialized transit

Visit the ministère des Transports website for more information.

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School Bus Transportation

School boards or educational institutions plan and organize school transportation for schoolchildren. They determine the transportation eligibility standards (walking distances, danger zones, etc.). Transportation is generally carried out by private companies.

School bus transportation funding is the concern of the Department of Education, Recreation and Sports. However, the Department of Transport is mandated to ensure safety in this field. It especially makes sure that vehicles comply with standards and are used for their intended purpose.

Who can drive a school bus?

You must have a Class 2 driver's licence. To find out the conditions for issuing a Class 2 licence, please contact the Quebec Motor Vehicle Bureau (SAAQ).

To obtain a Class 2 license quickly, you may also undergo 20 training hours in a school transportation company approved by the SAAQ.

You must have undergone or commit to undergo 15 training hours provided by authorized transportation training centres in order to obtain a mandatory certificate for school bus drivers.

This training consists of notions regarding the roles and responsibilities inherent in driving a school bus, the relationships with passengers, the capacity to solve problems and the Highway Safety Code.

This certificate entitles you to drive a school bus or minibus with passengers under 18 years old.

Finally, you must prove that you have no criminal record associated with driving a school bus.

Why is there no seatbelts on school buses?

Unlike automobiles, using a seat compartmentalization system was preferred when designing and building school buses. This system better protects schoolchildren seated in this type of vehicle in the following ways:

  • High back seats
  • Energy-absorbing upholstered, deformable seats
  • Seats placed close to create compartments
  • Strong-mounting seats

Studies have shown that a seatbelt not worn or adjusted correctly may cause serious injury to the abdomen, head and neck. For a seatbelt to be effective, it must be worn correctly and adjusted every time it is used, requiring constant monitoring. Since school buses carry two to three passengers per seat, based on their size so they are completely seated on the seat while clearing the aisle, the number of seatbelts to install for each seat would be problematic.

What types of luggage are authorized in a school bus?

Their size should be adequate for a child to hold on his/her lap (suggested maximum size: 23 x 40 x 55 cm or 9 x 15.7 x 21.6"

  • Handbags and lunch boxes must be made of canvas, vinyl, leather or any other flexible material with no sharp edges.
  • Bags must be on the floor, at the student's seat, on their lap or next to them during the ride (never in the aisle).
  • Sharp objects (bladed skates), wheeled objects must be in a closed carry-on bag.
  • Long, oversized objects (scooters, hockey equipment, rackets, large musical instruments, skis, ski poles, baseball bats, snowboards, sleighs, craft work material, etc.) must be in the luggage compartment or solid, closed container* in the bus.
  • Any other object that cannot be put in the container or compartment must be carried in another vehicle.

Who determines school bus routes and the number of students on board?

School boards do.

While the funding of morning/afternoon school bus transportation is the concern of the Department of Education, Recreation and Sports, school boards, through their transportation department, are in charge of planning school bus transportation in their jurisdiction. School boards determine, among others, the conditions for accessing school transportation, the routes, the buses' departure and arrival times, the stops for getting on/off buses, and the number of students in a school bus. School boards also institute business rules and policies related to school transportation, and determine the conditions in which school bus service providers perform their contracts. These measures, which often affect the safety of schoolchildren, are generally available on the Website of each school board.

How often are school buses inspected?

• Regulations require that school bus service providers carry out at least four inspections a year on each bus in the company's fleet. However, school bus service providers may complete additional inspections or preventive maintenance. On the other hand, Contrôle routier Québec has the authority to carry out random school bus inspections, either on the road or at the workplace.

What are the basic safety rules a schoolchild must comply with to ensure his/her own school transportation safety?

  • I get to the bus stop ahead of time to avoid running.
  • I wait for the bus in line without shoving others.
  • I wait until the bus is at a standstill before moving closer.
  • I get in the bus in line and I hold on to the handrail.
  • I go over to my seat and sit down immediately.
  • I do not put items in the aisle.
  • I do not distract the driver.
  • I leave my items in my bag.
  • I keep my arms and head inside the bus at all times.
  • I do not throw any objects or food items out the window or on the floor.
  • I remain seated during the entire trip until the bus comes to a complete stop.
  • I walk a safe distance from the bus as soon as I get off and I keep away from the wheels.
  • I count ten steps when I get off the bus before passing in front of it.
  • I make sure that the bus driver has seen me before passing in front of the bus.
  • I look at my left, my right, then my left again before crossing the road.
  • I wait for the driver's instructions when I drop something under the bus. If it is not possible to talk to the driver, I wait until the bus has driven away before picking up the object.
  • I never go behind the school bus.

Can more than two schoolchildren be seated on a single bus seat?

The answer is YES, as long as ALL regulatory requirements are met. Technically speaking, a bus with 12 rows of seats could seat three schoolchildren per seat for a total of 72 passengers... but! And this is a very important "but" in terms of safety and regulation compliance affecting school bus transportation. Very simply, we would say:

  • There cannot be more than three passengers per seat (thus, there can be three).
  • However, you cannot carry more schoolchildren than there are places available on a seat to sit them and all students must be safely seated (all passengers must be completely seated on the seat, buttock and back included). Therefore, teenagers are sometimes sturdy and they can rarely be seated properly three per seat. Most school boards have adopted a policy of two a seat, for a possible 48 high school students.
  • On the other hand, there should not be any items in the aisle (including legs and bags). As soon as any of these three requirements are not met, the driver is in violation and may receive a hefty fine, even if he/she is not the person determining the number of passengers that may get in the bus (the school board determines the routes and the number of students that can get on board).
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Charter Transportation

The tourism industry is intimately linked to passenger transportation as regards group travels. The Bus Carriers Federation gives you information, via its directory, on charter transportation companies and the cities they serve, throughout the province.

Since these two industries have traveller safety at heart, this directory also provides relevant information on the rules governing charter transportation. To assist you in your transportation logistics and to understand the specific features of this carrier mode better, you will find useful information on:

  • The motorcoach drivers' driving time
  • The way the permit system works
  • The responsibilities of carriers and tour organizers

A quick reference tool that will answer your questions: Click here 

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