Public transit: a return to school marked by the STO's labour shortage
On Monday, August 29, the Société de transport de l'Outaouais' (STO) fall schedule came into effect and several changes are planned for the start of the school year. From the outset, the STO told its riders that it had to reduce its service for the fall season due to a lack of employees. The changes to the schedules mainly affect the period between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., in order to maintain optimal service during the busiest periods (like rush hour, in the early mornings and early evenings). Also, as some contracts have now expired, two park-and-ride lots (areas where residents can park their vehicles and have easier access to the bus network) will close: the Promenades de Gatineau and Centre Robert-Guertin Parcs-o-bus. Bus stops have been moved accordingly in Gatineau, with new stops available on Chemin de la Savane, and the Centre Robert-Guertin stop has been removed. High school students in the region have retained their unlimited access to STO transportation since January, not only during school days, but also on evenings and weekends. According to data shared by the STO, more than 4,000 students benefit from this improved offer and travel by public transit. Patrick Leclerc, the STO's General Manager, shared a few words in a press release and explained, in reference to the labour shortage: "We are sorry for the inconvenience this temporary reduction may cause our customers. Please be assured that we are doing everything possible to restore the level of service as quickly as possible. Despite the challenges we face, the STO will be there this fall. One of our priorities is students. Our operations teams will therefore pay special attention to the integrated school routes and the regular network routes that serve high schools.”.
The STO mentions that the Plani-bus, available at various service points, and the Transit application (which allows citizens to follow bus trips in real time) remain the best ways to plan your schedule. The STO's Twitter account (@STO_direct) and the Customer Relations Department (toll-free number 1-800 855-0511) can be reached during business hours for any questions.
Photo caption: An STO shuttle bus
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Société de transport de l'Outaouais