Service cuts and STM funding: Ensemble Montréal urges the Plante administration to present a game plan

cuts STM

Deeply concerned by the uncertainty surrounding further cuts to the service offered by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Ensemble Montréal is urging the Plante administration to lay its cards on the table. After having received no answers to inquiries, both verbal and written, regarding potential solutions being considered to remedy the $77.7M deficit in the transit agency’s 2023 budget, the elected officials of the Official Opposition are asking the City of Montreal to summon the STM’s executives to present how they intend to balance their budget at a special City Council meeting.

“On the one hand, the Projet Montréal administration is hammering the idea that everything must be done to reduce single-occupancy vehicles and that there are too many vehicles on Montreal’s road network. But on the other hand, we learned that they are sneakily putting an end to the 10 minutes max network at a time when the STM’s ridership is at its highest in three years,” deplores City Councillor Alba Zuniga Ramos, Official Opposition spokesperson on transportation issues.

The end of the 10 minutes max service, which has been offered since 2010 and is greatly appreciated by riders – as evidenced by the ‘funeral’ organized a few weeks ago by Trajectoire Québec and the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal – translates into an overall decrease in service of 11.2% on the 31 lines that formed this network. The off-peak evening period, between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., is most affected, with a 19.8% drop in service. This is in spite of the fact that, when the STM presented its 2023 budget, its executives stated that January’s bus service would be similar to that of the fall of 2022.

Even if the Plante administration claims it is waiting for the provincial government’s investments, Ensemble Montréal believes it must still give Montrealers the facts for all foreseeable scenarios. Thus, for the sake of transparency and good governance, the elected members of the Official Opposition are asking that the specific demands the STM has sent to the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain and the Government of Quebec, in anticipation of the province’s Budget 2023-2024, be made public, as well as the STM’s financial recovery plan. 

Citizens expect to be able to organize their trips without surprises, so the population ought to be informed of all the service cut scenarios that can occur this year in the event of the Government of Quebec refusing to increase the STM’s financing.  

A motion to this effect will be tabled at the Municipal Council meeting occurring on February 20.

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