A coalition of Canadian motorcoach associations presented recommendations to the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications on the issue of regulation-deregulation of the motorcoach industry.
In its submission to the Senate, which is conducting the investigation per the minister of transport, the coalition has left it up to the government to decide what is in the public interest with respect to the issue.
The coalition, comprising Motor Coach Canada (MCC), the Canadian Bus Association (ABA), the Quebec Bus Owners Association (APAQ) and the Ontario Motor Coach Association (OMCA), are working together to develop a common industry position on the issue of regulation-deregulation.
“Our position in the industry is we don’t care one way or the other, just do it,” said Brian Crow, president of MCC and the OMCA. “Just as long as they decide and develop a national passenger transportation policy for the country so our mode knows what its role is.”
The coalition submitted 13 recommendations to the Senate standing committee, which called for a regulatory regime that meets the highest practicable safety standards enforced by the government. Regulation must also service public need and convenience; be fair, simple and understandable; allow for innovation; and be competitive with other modes.
The presentation also stressed the need for the upgrade of bus safety regulations to meet or surpass current industry safety practices and for the introduction of a fuel tax rebate to lower bus tariffs.
During the Vancouver hearing, one of six hearings being held to discuss regulation-deregulation issues, MCC took the opportunity to raise the awareness of motorcoach travel and address the strengths, opportunities and constraints felt by the industry.
“We took it as an opportunity to increase the awareness,” Crow said. “We took the senators out on a motorcoach and we really just amazed them.”
The Canadian minister of transport has moved to deregulate the bus industry in the past, as was done with the airline and rail industries in Canada, but faced opposition from two major carriers which halted the action. The senate committee was called upon to conduct investigative hearings throughout Canada, including Montreal and Vancouver.
Once the hearings conclude, the senate committee is expected to travel to the U.S., where it will visit the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as a university in Boston to discuss deregulation issues.