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The STO Adopts Its 2014 Budget

Published : 11-27-2013

The Board of Directors of the Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) today approved a budget of $109.2 million, along with the fare schedule to become effective January 1, 2014.

Limited expenditures

The STO conducted an internal restructuring exercise that made it possible to cut expenditures by $1.2 million in order to limit the expected increase to $2.9 million. All STO departments saw their respective budgets reduced. The STO will not be adding to its administration staff next year and will keep replacements for temporarily vacant positions to a minimum. Moreover, a decision was made for 2014 to not fill the position of assistant general manager, which has existed at the STO since 2007. The STO is also striving to control vehicle operating costs, and it is safe from fuel price fluctuations thanks to an agreement that fixes a large portion of the prices, allowing it to stabilize its fuel budget.

Anticipated revenues

A revenue increase of $700,000 is projected compared with 2013. Total anticipated revenues for 2014 are $57.9 million. The STO plans to reach 20.9 million trips on its system next year. New market development strategies and promoting public transit are also on the STO's agenda for 2014, in particular related to the arrival of the Rapibus.

Rapibus service improvements

An amount of $1.4 million will be earmarked for Rapibus service improvements next year. The STO has a $700,000 envelope that will be increased, exceptionally, by $700,000 in order to make certain adjustments in January 2014, namely in the Buckingham and Masson-Angers sectors and in Pointe Gatineau, which require more immediate attention. It should be pointed out that the STO also made improvements by adding 20 peak period trips on the 6 busiest bus routes (100, 200, 57, 67, 68, 95). The capacity of buses in downtown Ottawa was improved by having 10 trips leave directly from the stop at the corner of Bank and Wellington in the evening to provide return trips.

"The amount that the City has added to the existing Rapibus envelope is expected to be made official in the service improvement budget planned for 2015." The STO is aware of the work that remains to be done to optimize the Rapibus. "It is clear that we will keep an eye on the other neighbourhoods served because adhering to local route schedules, and reliable connections and station arrival times are still priorities. It is important to remember that we are still in the adjustment period," explained STO General Manager Line Thiffeault. The STO also aims to make adjustments elsewhere in its service area through the added capacity of 14 new articulated buses to be put into service next summer which will compensate for the lack of vehicles that makes these adjustments difficult in the short term.

"The problems experienced by riders in some sectors since the start of the Rapibus service also need to be recognized. Keeping technical and financial constraints in mind, we looked at various scenarios for making adjustments to tackle specific problems. I repeat, the goal is to reduce unacceptable travel times. They upset the daily routines of a number of people, and we have to improve the situation if we want these people to continue to use public transit," explained Gatineau Mayor and STO Chairman Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin.

Regular and paratransit ridership

In terms of ridership, the STO has been observing a decline for more than a year. This appears to be a regional issue, because the trend has also been noted in Ottawa. The STO anticipates that it will close 2013 with a 1% drop in ridership, representing a loss of revenue of $1.5 million. In order to stabilize its budget, the STO is injecting a share of its 2012 budget surplus into the 2014 budget. An amount of $500,000 is therefore being added to the budget to offset the loss of ridership revenues and to reduce the resulting impact on the municipal contribution required in 2014.

Furthermore, the STO anticipates a 4% increase in paratransit ridership. To continue to efficiently meet the needs of people with an impairment or reduced mobility, the STO will add another $300,000, for a total budget of $6.4 million in this area.

Municipal contribution

The City of Gatineau is contributing $51.3 million to the STO's budget, or $2.2 million more than in 2013. This is a 4.5% increase compared with last year. The municipal share represents 47% of the STO's budget. Gatineau's financial involvement is comparable to the contributions made by other Quebec municipalities supporting public transit authorities that are the same size as the STO.

"The City of Gatineau's contribution to the STO is essential if we wish to maintain and improve the service offered to riders. By investing in public transit, we are reducing the pressure on our highway infrastructures and are giving ourselves tools to develop our area better. In fact, my being chairman reflects my desire to build closer ties between elected officials and the STO's Board. While we recognize the efforts being made by the executives, we want to go even further by introducing an expenditure and service review process. This will allow us to assure citizens that every dollar is being spent wisely," stated Mr. Pedneaud-Jobin.

2014 fares

Because of the growing expenditures that all transit authorities face, the STO will be raising its fares in 2014 with an average increase of 3.7%. Taking into account the discontinuation of the Express and Interzone fares in October 2013, the average fare increase is 1.5%. The greatest increases will apply to the e-wallet, ticket and cash fare in particular, while the regular adult pass will go from $87 to $90, for a rise of $3. The STO will continue to offer reduced fares for students and seniors.

2014-2015-2016 three-year capital projects plan

The STO's projects in the three-year plan benefit from provincial grants that can cover as much as 100% of the cost, depending on the nature of the projects. The STO will make use of these grants in the short term to develop reserved lanes for public transit related to the new program announced in the fall of 2013 by the Quebec Ministry of Transport. Enlarging the Rivermead incentive parking facilities in Aylmer and extending the Rapibus farther east and west, introducing an operations support system for paratransit, building a second transportation centre and the phase II expansion of the Labrosse incentive parking facilities are among the STO's priority projects.

The fare schedule for 2014 and a summary of the budget can be viewed at

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Fare Structure

Summary (in french only)

Change to the system (in french only)


Summary of the Rapibus adjustments to take effect on January 27, 2014

Local routes

Adjustments will be made to routes 20, 57, 67, 71, 77, 78, 95, 300 and 810.

Certain morning and afternoon peak period departure times will be readjusted throughout the Rapibus system.

Buckingham and Masson-Angers sectors

* Direct service with routes 94 and 98 that will take Highway 50 for the first two trips of the morning.
* For the afternoon return, all trips on routes 93 and 95 will leave from De la Gappe station and then take Highway 50.
* These measures will make it possible to revert to travel times similar to pre-Rapibus times for the first two trips on routes 94 and 98 in the morning, and to allow most riders in Buckingham and Masson-Angers to gain 10 minutes on their return in the afternoon. This option benefits 850 riders.

Pointe Gatineau

* Route 67 will be combined with route 300 at Place d'Accueil to offer a direct link without connections in the morning and afternoon peak periods.
* Frequency increased to 15 minutes by converting some trips on route 57 to route 67 combined with route 300.
* This option will give more than 600 people a shorter travel time (because there is no need to transfer) and direct access to and from downtown Ottawa.
* This option will also reduce the pressure on the incentive parking at De la Gappe station, with some riders migrating to Les Promenades and Pierre-Lafontaine park-and-ride facilities.


* The first two trips in the morning on routes 77 and 78 will be converted to Rapibus routes 100 or 200, thereby avoiding a connection.

Routes 15 and 16 – Service to Cantley

* Change in the morning peak period route to run along Loiret (afternoon route via Gappe does not change).
* Delay in the afternoon departure times to make connections easier.


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