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Holiday travelling on a budget

by admin November 17, 2009

It’s no secret that student bank accounts can start to look pretty bleak by the end of the semester, sometimes making it difficult to get home for the holidays. Students who need to get to the other side of the country might not have many options beyond air travel and begging their parents for money. But there’s an inexpensive and efficient option for those looking to get across Quebec, from Amqui to Victoriaville.
Even though Allo Stop has been around for 25 years, the service is a mystery to students at Concordia.

“I’ve never heard about it,” said history student Chris Kapron. “I go down to Trois Pistoles to see family every couple of years and I usually rent a car.”
Even a student who takes monthly trips home to Cap Rouge, Que., about 20 minutes southwest of Quebec City, said he didn’t know about Allo Stop’s service. “I usually go down with friends,” said Philip Gosselin, who studies electro acoustics at Concordia. “If I didn’t have a ride though, I’d look into it, seeing as bus tickets are expensive.”
Since Allo Stop started its carpooling system in 1983, it has made traveling within Quebec relatively simple, efficient and affordable. The company acts as an intermediary for over 60,000 members, hooking up drivers with passengers who are heading to the same destination.

“The most popular destination is Montreal to Quebec,” said Louis Fortin, a manager at Allo Stop’s Montreal office on St. Denis St. “We usually have 100 departures every day during the quiet season for that route. That number goes up to 300 or 400 a day during busy seasons, which is during the summer, on national holidays and especially during Christmas.”
The trips Allo Stop accommodates depend on where drivers are headed. Though not every destination in Quebec is available at all times, Fortin said rides to Sherbrooke, Trois Rivières, the Saguenay, Bas du Fleuve and Gatineau are available almost every day from Montreal.
Only members can take advantage of Allo Stop’s services. Year-long memberships cost $6 or $7, depending whether you’re a passenger or a driver, and is free for students carrying a valid I.D.

Spots can be requested and destinations confirmed either online or in person. Allo Stop then takes care of finding passengers for the ride or a car going where you need to be.
Allo Stop charges passengers an access fee for each ride, which ranges from $4 to $6. Passengers also pay their driver a certain rate, established by Allo Stop, which varies depending on the destination.
A trip to Quebec City from Montreal will come to a $19 total after paying the $6 access fee and $13 for the driver. On the same route, the student fare for a one-way bus ticket with Orleans Express costs $45.15 after tax.

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