STS: hybrids, bus shelters and variable message signs

Eight new hybrid buses, ten new bus shelters and more than 20 variable message signs: the Sherbrooke Transportation Corporation (STS) has tabled a budget of $ 37 million for 2020 on its board of directors Wednesday. If the addition of service remains in the organization’s sights, average user fees, with the exception of cash payment, will increase by 1.7%.
The e President of STS, Marc Denault, presented Wednesday the outline of the 2020 budget of the organization, while painting a positive assessment of the past year. At $ 37 million, the investments made by the transportation company will be close to 5% higher than the projected budget of 2019. “The municipal contribution will be $ 16 million, about $ 300,000 more than in 2019 The extra money will serve as leverage to increase services. ” Proportionately, the City of Sherbrooke will nevertheless contribute 43% of the STS budget. “It’s major! Said Mr. Denault.

If Mr. Denault is talking about $ 14 million in capital spending next year, mentioning hybrid buses, replacement bus shelters and variable message signs that will allow users to know how much time is left before the next bus arrives, a large part of this amount, about 80%, should come from grants. In the capital program 2020-2025, for five years, capital assets would represent projects of $ 83 million. A record according to the president.

Another improvement considered would be the possibility of reloading the Vermeilleuse card from its own computer.

“We have a vision of growth to increase our offering and close more partnerships. We have often spoken about REM in Montreal, the streetcar in Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau, but now it’s our turn. ”

For the future, Marc Denault also lets know that the first fully electric buses will be acquired in 2021 and all new buses will be electric from 2023. “We will save fuel and maintenance cost will be more low. ”

A large part of the budget will obviously be devoted to staff remuneration.

As for pricing, the cash payment will still be $ 3.30 in 2020, but the monthly pass will increase to $ 80.80.

“We had service increases on weekends and evenings. We went back to 38,000 bonus hours, generating $ 500,000 in additional revenue. There are still additions to service within five years, including in the west end of the city. The challenge will be to deliver even more in 2020. We will first look at our structuring axes to find additional users. ”

Marc Denault proposes to wait until the beginning of the year to decide on the number of hours that will be added to the network in the next year.

Managing Director Patrick Dobson, for his part, recorded a 1.5% increase in ridership in 2019, one of the largest increases in the last ten years. “In the future, we will focus a lot on the electrification and modernization of the garage. ”

The last year has seen major changes, including the closure of the Depot station and the redevelopment of the station at the Carrefour de l’Estrie. Paratransit was 4% higher.

The strategic plan of the STS should be presented to the population in 2020.

Vehicles circulating despite a defect, work done in duplicate, an outdated computer system: the Auditor General, Andrée Cossette, had noted several shortcomings in the Sherbrooke Transportation Corporation (STS) in its report 2019. The President of the organization, Marc Denault, ensures that the 44 recommendations of the Auditor are answered or answered to improve the way things are done.

Mr. Denault confirmed that an action plan, which he did not wish to make public, was tabled in a workshop of the STS Board of Directors. “We are doing more than 50% of the actions that are initiated. We will achieve some by the end of 2019. We are very proactive in finding solutions to these recommendations. ”

He said that a state of affairs will be made public in February. “We have always been transparent and we will be transparent again. ”

Safety first

The president of the STS confirms that certain recommendations require investments that have been included in the 2020 budget. “These are actions we take seriously. We also have a realization capacity. We gave priority to safety. ”

In particular, the $ 1.6 million acquisition of software is expected to correct certain deficiencies.

Managing Director Patrick Dobson assures that all security vulnerabilities have been corrected. “We have software that is obsolete, but that does a minimum of work. We realized that there was a configuration problem. People were doing their job well, but buses were declared compliant even though they were not compliant because of minor breakdowns. That’s settled. ”

STS continues discussions with the Auditor General to approve the action plan. “For example, applying a computer-based maintenance management system takes two to three years. It was in our investment plan even before the audit. ”

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