These truckers who no longer want to go to Montreal
Congestion, construction and endless work, as in the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel, lack of civility among Montreal drivers… There are many reasons to explain the fed up of some truckers.
Guy Gélinas, trucker in the Trois-Rivières region
More than a year ago, Guy Gélinas gave up on Montreal. Ended. He even wondered if he was going to continue his job as a truck driver, he was so sick of driving in the metropolis.
I was tired and knackered. I was doing 70 hours [a week]. Driving in Montreal is an ordeal. Sorry to say, but the only time I felt good was during the pandemic, when there were no traffic jams, says Guy Gélinas, who has been traveling the roads of Quebec for 20 years.
For several years, Mr. Gélinas mainly traveled around Greater Montreal, from very early in the morning until late at night, when he returned home, in the Trois-Rivières region.< /p>
I made about ten deliveries a day. I took a break two years ago: I was tired of traffic. I left at 5 a.m. and returned at 9 p.m. Still in traffic. You might be paid by the hour, it's very tiring, he says.
With the constant work in the streets of Montreal , the attitude of drivers and the repair of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel, Guy Gélinas has decided to change his daily life.
Before, I took the tunnel very often. My deliveries started on the South Shore, in Boucherville. Already, it was not easy at the time. Now it will be hell, he said. I was anticipating that moment, the closing of the three lanes, because we had been hearing about it for several months. I didn't want to go through that, that guided my decision.
Since then, he has changed companies and hasn't set foot in Montreal for over a year. It leaves every morning from the Mauricie, bypasses the metropolis by the 640 and goes to Gatineau. I made the right choice, I tell myself that every morning, he says.
Yanick Desmarais, trucker
Yanick Desmarais decided that too . Trucker since 2004, he has done everything: delivery of parcels and fresh products, snowplow… Last February, stressed by several years of driving in a city plagued by endless works and congestion, he went into exile. in the Lanaudière region to do his job.
I thought, ''Enough, I can't do it anymore.'' I was made marabout, aggressive, I saw the traffic and I made pimples. I accepted a position where I earn less to avoid going to Montreal, he said in an interview with Radio-Canada.
He claims to have gained in quality of life and never want to go back, especially when he sees the many construction sites like the bridge-tunnel.
My wife told me, ''I found the guy I knew.'' Finally, I was no longer tempted to go to work. Montreal was making me hate my job, which I love, he says.
The trucker also criticizes the Plante administration and its management of the work. They make detours, they send us to streets where trucks do not pass. They never think of us.
The two truckers are far from the only ones to think like that. Several of them expressly ask to no longer make deliveries in Montreal. On the Facebook site of Truck Stop Québec, a media specializing in the field, the comments are lapidary.
I'd rather give back my class 1 than do Montreal, says one of them. I hate the 401, but I take Toronto before Montreal, anytime, says another. I'm not going to Montreal anymore, says another trucker, André Pearson.
In fact, transport companies must manage this problem in the midst of a shortage of truck drivers. There is currently a shortage of approximately 10,000 truckers in Quebec alone.
Yes, we are hearing that more and more from our members. Congestion in Montreal discourages many truckers from working on the island, it has become a difficulty for businesses, says Marc Cadieux, CEO of the Quebec Trucking Association.
In a world where there is a [labour] shortage, truckers have more choices. If they don't want to go to Montreal, they will turn to another employer, he explains.
François Vézina, truck driver
On the ground, many abound in this direction. In Saint-Liboire, a popular stop on Highway 20, many avoid Quebec's first city.
If my boss asked me to do Montreal, I would change companies. Downright. Luckily: she's based in Saguenay and I'm from the North Shore, says Frédéric Lecompte smiling.
If I were asked to go to Montreal, it would be no, adds Andrée Giguère, an experienced truck driver who works mainly in Montérégie and who delivers asphalt.
Another trucker, François Vézina, has to come to the island every day. He admits to being less enthusiastic than before. I like Montreal less and less, but the work is there. In the long term, I will not always do Montreal. I've been doing it for 25 years. Before, it was less bad, he says.
Marc Cossette owns a farm and a transportation company. He will assess the situation over the next few months, after the partial closure of the bridge-tunnel. It's a big waste of time. Drivers are paid by the hour, transport costs are increasing. I am patient, but it could happen that we put a cross on Montreal, he admits.
Already, several trucking companies have seen their operating costs explode in recent months, an increase that is partly passed on to consumers. The repair of the Louis-Hippolyte bridge-tunnel will therefore make the situation worse.
We are talking about a significant loss of productivity. It will take three to six times longer than usual to make the same passage through the tunnel. […] And with all the bottlenecks that we see on different infrastructures, there are long periods of the day when the traffic is very dense, sums up Marc Cadieux.