主題：Taxi monopoly at Quebec City airport dismays budget travellers
時間：Nov 20, 2016
內文：Backpackers' mouths fall open, at the hostel in Old Quebec, when they learn the flat rate for a cab to Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport is $34.25 — and there is no other way to get there except by taxi.
"Oh my God, 35 dollars!" the hostel's general manager, Caroline Duplain, said one young woman told her recently, wide-eyed. That's more than a night's stay at the hostel, she said.
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.
Instead, the 1.6 million passengers who land or depart from Jean Lesage Airport every year must all take a taxi, if they don't have a lift.
The lack of transportation alternatives was underscored last Oct. 15, when, in a show of protest against the Uber ride-sharing application, taxi drivers left the airport without service for 11 hours.
Exceptionally that day, city buses served the airport throughout the day.
Normally, a city bus makes only a one-way trip, twice a day, to transport airport employees to and from Jean Lesage, picking them up and dropping them off at a bus terminal about 10 kilometres from the city centre.
Quebec City travellers planning to fly out of Montreal, by contrast, can take a coach line from downtown Quebec right to Pierre Trudeau Airport.
Pressure to change
At city hall, Opposition Coun. Paul Shoiry said the lack of affordable ground transport to and from the airport is hurting the Quebec City's image.
The head of the Quebec City Chamber of Commerce, Alain Aubut, said the city needs an airport shuttle if it wants to attract more tourists and international conventions.
The airport is undergoing a major expansion, expecting to handle more than 2 million passengers a year within three years.
"By 2020, will we still be giving visitors the same cheap kind of welcome?" asks Étienne Grandmont, the executive director of a sustainable transportation advocacy group, Accès Transports Viables.
Sky-high parking revenues
One analyst has gone so far as to suggest that the management of Jean Lesage Airport is in a conflict of interest on the issue.
"Airport parking is the third biggest source of revenue," said Michel Nadeau, the head of the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP), who conducted a 2014 study on airport management in Canada.
Nadeau said parking fees at Quebec City's airport bring in $6 million annually.
"They want people to come with their cars and not take public transit too much," he suggests.
"When I see people walking on the road to the airport with their suitcases, honestly, I find that appalling," said the airport's director of communications, Mathieu Claise.
At a National Assembly hearing last March, one airport official said all self-respecting cities offer some sort of public transportation option to and from their airports.
The airport authority says it's not responsible for organizing buses, and it wants Quebec City's municipal transit authority to take the initiative.
However, the head of the city's public transit authority, Rémy Normand, says there's insufficient volume to and from the airport to make a regular airport bus profitable.
Mayor not convinced of need
Last week, the mayor lashed out at the airport for the mounting pressure on the municipality to offer public transit service.
The Quebec City convention centre rents its own shuttle buses, as needed.
And there's a sign-up sheet in the lobby of the popular hostel, the Auberge Internationale de Québec, for penny-pinching backpackers looking to share a cab.
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