Autobus Séguin opens new garage and head office in Laval’s industrial park

One of Quebec’s top-three school bus services plans all-electric fleet by 2030

One of Quebec’s largest school bus service providers, Autobus Groupe Séguin, opened a sprawling new garage and headquarters in an industrial sector of Laval on Nov. 20, while leaving no doubt the family-owned firm is placing its faith in electrification as the future of school bus transport in Quebec.

“We made a commitment to continue the mission of our founder Gérald Séguin, while also investing in order to leave behind an innovative business to our children,” company president Stéphane Boisvert said in an address to more than 70 guests, including elected officials from the provincial and municipal levels of government.

So far, only part of Autobus Groupe Séguin’s school bus fleet is fully electric, although the company’s plan is to go all-electric by the year 2030. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

A major investment

As a spokesman for the company acknowledged during an interview with the Laval News, Groupe Séguin has managed to make great strides in a sector of the economy where the margin of profit can at times be slim because of high overhead, which includes vehicle acquisition and maintenance as well as significant labor costs.

On the plus side, the company provides a vital service, in conjunction with education authorities and school boards, for which there is almost always a consistent demand (not taking into account the currently unfolding teachers’ strike which is causing disruptions).

Highly-competitive sector

While Autobus Groupe Séguin ranks among the top-three privately-owned school bus service providers in Quebec, Transco is generally recognized as the largest player, although it is a division of First Student Canada which is owned in turn by the Cincinnati-based multinational First Student USA.

Elected officials from Quebec and the City of Laval are seen here on Nov. 20 inside the garage at Autobus Groupe Séguin’s new corporate headquarters on Louis B. Mayor Blvd. in Laval’s industrial park. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Groupe Séguin has more than 350 employees and runs a fleet of 330 buses and other vehicles. On any given school day, more than 30,000 individuals board Séguin buses in a wide area surrounding the Montreal region, including Montreal Island, Laval, the Laurentians and Lanaudière.

As part of the company’s latest strategy to expand further, they plan to convert their existing fleet, which is partly powered now by carbon-based fuels, to a 100 per cent electric standard by the year 2030.

‘This is an entrepreneurial family from Laval’

Sainte-Rose MNA Christopher Skeete, the delegated minister for economic issues in the Legault cabinet

Working closely with Cléo

While pursuing its electrification agenda, Groupe Séguin is working closely with Cléo, a Hydro-Québec division providing consultancy on electrification of transportation across the province. Cléo is helping Séguin resolve some outstanding electrification issues, including vehicle range per charge and how long it takes to recharge vehicles using cutting-edge monitoring systems and controls.

Regarded as a pilot project for other businesses in Quebec, Groupe Séguin’s expansion program is receiving significant financial support from a number of government economic development agencies, including Investissement Québec, the Infrastructure Bank of Canada and Business Development Canada.

Left, Chomedey Liberal MNA Sona Lakhoyan Olivier raises a toast with Autobus Groupe Séguin president Stéphane Boisvert during the official opening of the school transit company’s new garage and offices. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

A family-driven business

“This is an entrepreneurial family from Laval who are making a significant investment in order to automate their operating systems, while creating a continuous training centre and implementing a recharging centre for a fleet of electric buses,” said Sainte-Rose CAQ MNA Christopher Skeete who is the delegated minister for economic issues in the Legault cabinet.

“In Laval, transportation accounts for nearly 70 per cent of greenhouse gases from our territory,” said Laval city councillor for Sainte-Rose Flavia Alexandra Novac. “To see this company which has been present on our territory for more than 50 years becoming committed to environmental change makes us all proud.”