• Trevor Greenway

On-demand transport comes to Hills

Need a safe ride home from the bar? Working the late shift at the restaurant and need to get home? Looking to move to the Outaouais, but worried about how you’ll get around?


A new on-demand ride service is launching in the Hills that has the potential to be a significant game changer for businesses, residents and revellers.


The new Transcollines on-demand service is just as it sounds — residents book a ride whenever they need and a car will pick them up at home, or a restaurant or a shop and drive them where they need to go for as low as $4.


“I think it’s going to be a really good solution for this kind of territory,” said Transcollines communications officer Chantal Mainville. “It’s perfect for the kind of obstacles we have with the fixed lines of a bus service.”


Mainville said that the MRC des Collines has been watching other regions that have launched the service – including Buckingham and other rural regions in Quebec – and have immediately noticed positive impacts.


They launched the service here to give students, restaurants and hospitality workers more options to get to work and school. Mainville said the program will also encourage more people to move into the Outaouais, as reliable public transportation is a main barrier in rural areas.


Mainville said one of the reasons the service runs until midnight was to ensure it was realistic for service-industry workers and those who have had a few drinks. However, establishments that sell liquor in Quebec are permitted to remain open until 3 a.m.


“We need to help people get to work and to study, and we need them to develop the regions,” she added. “We want them to move into the rural regions of the Outaouais, so we want to offer a service that can help them work and function.”


Drinking and driving has always been one of the biggest problems in the Gatineau Hills, and this year is no different. According to MRC des Collines Police, there have been 63 drunk drivers caught since Sept. 23. The number is on par with last year’s stats, which saw cops catch 83 drunk drivers.


The service is great news for The Chelsea Pub, as it will help get employees home and recruit new young employees, but it also will help ensure their clients get home safely after a night of drinking at the pub.


“I think it will be really great for employees, but also customers, because this summer we had trouble just getting taxis in there, and people were drinking a lot,” said Chelsea Pub public relations manager Lélia Bâcle-Mainguy. “We ended up bringing customers back to their place because they couldn’t drive or they couldn’t get a taxi or anyone picking them up.”


Mainville explained that the program is a partnership between Transcolliines and Taxi Loyal, which helps keep costs down and allows residents to be picked up directly from their homes.


Booking is simple. Residents can log on to Transcollines. ca, click on “on-demand,” and type in their departure and arrival details and – voila! – a car will be on its way. Residents can also download an app and book rides easily through their smartphones.


What’s important for users to understand, said Mainville, is that people need to use the service for it to become a permanent service in the Hills. She urges residents to “just try it once” and provide feedback so the service can be adjusted to the actual needs of the residents.


“We’re listening; just tell us what you want, and we’ll try to put it in the service.”


The service is free on weekends until the end of the year. Book your trip today at transcollines.ca.