Riding in style: massive upgrade to Pontiac bus route

Categories: 

by: 

Kate Aley

It's smooth and it's quiet with internet access, a 36" flat screen TV and reclining seats and it leaves Allumette Island at 10 minutes to 5 am every day. This is the new coach that runs Route 148 and you can be on it. This week, riders taking the Campeau Bus Line to the city were treated to a brand-new luxury coach, a demonstration vehicle in service before the permanent vehicle becomes available in about a weeks time.

Smaller but more comfortable, the new coach is a nimble 48 feet long, compared to the previous one at 66'.

The new vehicle, known as a Crystal Coach Bus, carries 30 passengers compared to the previous 60-person capacity. Plush seating features safety belts, fold-down arm rests and a reclining feature. The permanent coach will also offer a washroom in the back. Air suspension, improved heating and wireless internet will make the long drive more comfortable and efficient.

Nice warm safe and comfortable seats!

Subtle green strip lighting overhead allows passengers to board safely while not disturbing those already aboard.

Security strip lighting in the ceiling

Four small TV screens augment a swing-down 36" screen in the front of the bus. A deal with Videotron means a new release movie is shown every evening on the return trip. Each seats features a USB port and an overhead reading light.

Fold-down TVs along the length of the coach

The bus stops at multiple points along the 148, depositing passengers at three points in Gatineau and four in Ottawa. The timetable is available at transcollines.ca. Tickets can be purchased on board from the driver Garry Belair (cash only at this time; change available) and do not need to be booked in advance. Belair says he waits at every pre-arranged stop for about two minutes, as a courtesy to passengers running late.

Simple and effective, a Transcollines paper ticket

Tickets can be purchased as one-way or return, with weekly and monthly passes available. Belair refers to meeting his twenty regular riders every evening as a "family reunion". "We are quiet on the way to town but on the way back, we're joking around," he said. "They can order pizzas that I have delivered to the bus and keep warm in [insulated] bags for them."

Belair lives in Quyon, leaving home each day at 3 am to get to his first stop by 5 am. He describes driving the bus as "a joy". "The people are happy," he said. "It's not a driver/customer relationship, it feels like family."

Driver Garry Belair.

Belair credits Campeau Bus Lines and Transcollines for recognizing how important reliable, affordable transport is to the Pontiac. "They see the worth in looking after their customers," he said. "There is a real need for this service in this region."

The 'moonlight dome' gives an unprecedented view of the road and the sky. A passenger seat next to the driver is a welcome addition for people suffering from motion sickness.

Further updates and improvements are planned for the 148 service. Stay tuned.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Turtle S.O.S.: Save Our Shells!

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Trouble in paradise.

It's June and that means those crazy turtles are once again roaming dirt side roads and busy highways alike; intent on finding mates, water and good nesting places as they have always done, paying no mind to the deadly wheels zooming past. I stop for a lot of turtles at this time of the year and so far we have all lived to fight another day. However I have never seen a turtle stuck in the bone-dry and baking-hot rink at the Luskville Community Centre before. Bad turtle terrain for sure.

Open letter to the Municipality of Pontiac recognizing the work of our municipal firefighters

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by: 

Sandra Barber

To whom it may concern:

Re: Recognition of volunteer Firefighters

While sitting at our dining table enjoying our first coffee of the day on Sunday, May 20 at 6 a.m., my husband and I both heard a very loud “thunk” and wondered what the heck it was. Curiosity motivated my husband to investigate further; he checked our basement, nothing amiss. Checked the living room located on a lower level, noticed a man sitting outside on the guard rail.

Kickin' it: Pontiac youth get into soccer

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by: 

Kate Aley

Some might say that young people are glued to their screens all day and all night. But that's harder to say when so many bright young people are running, kicking, playing and laughing in Luskville every Monday evening.
Community soccer classes started up on Tuesday, May 1st at the Luskville Recreational Park. The two- to four year-olds play in the softball field. The older group, aged five and up, play on the soccer field to the north.

How do rural communities comply with Quebec's Organic Strategy?

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by: 

Kevin Brady

Current Situation:

The Québec residual materials management strategy includes a progressive reduction and an eventual a 'ban' of organic material from municipal landfills by 2020. Municipalities that comply with the policy are eligible for funding to help offset the costs. As with the Municipality of Pontiac, many municipalities have chosen to pass resolutions to initiate door-to-door collection, with costs paid for by the residents.

Get ready, get set, get out: disaster preparedness in a bag

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by: 

Kate Aley

Remember this?

As the Pontiac watches epic levels of flooding in both New Brunswick and B.C. and considers our own possible return to inundation, it's time to let paranoia rear its helpful head and get ready to get out of the house. The concept behind having a so-called Go Bag is to have ready everything you might need to survive, out-of-doors, for about 72 hours... until help arrives or the zombies get you.

Salon Chez Hélène celebrates 40 years in business

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by: 

Kate Aley

Hélène Belisle, owner of Salon Chez Hélène in Luskville, summarizes her work career as “forty years of doing what I like.”

Born and raised in Luskville, Belisle trained and gained work experience in Hull before opening her own salon in her home in 1978. However, her experience in hairdressing dates back to her childhood.

Pontiac Community Players put on fundraising play

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by: 

Kate Aley

A hilarious one-hour play called Maid to Order was presented in Shawville April 13 and 14 by local theatre troupe, the Pontiac Community Players (PCP). Sold-out on both evenings, the profits will go towards the Pontiac High School restoration project to update lighting, sound and add a 20-foot electronic screen to be used for both school and community movie screenings. Further improvements to seating and ventilation are planned.

Above, hapless police officers Craig Young (left) and Neil MacIntosh (right) ask the slightly-shady Charles Cambin (Richard Armitage) to explain himself.

Another community hub lost: Depanneur Poirier closes down

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by: 

Kate Aley

Depanneur Poirier, at the intersection of the highway and Ch. des Pères-Dominicains, has closed. The last day of business was Thursday 22 but the owners, Janet and Jack Deschenes have been emptying shelves for weeks.

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