STM to cut bus service by 3 per cent

If you ride the bus in Montreal, longer wait times on your evenings and weekend commutes may be on the way.

This is the first time since the late 1990s that STM cuts services

The STM says it will reduce bus service by 165,000 hours. (CBC)

If you ride the bus in Montreal, longer waits on your evening and weekend commutes may be on the way.

The STM says the extra $12.5 million it is getting from the city of Montreal — unveiled Wednesday in its budget — is not enough to maintain its level of service without raising fares.

The Montreal Transit Corporation says it was facing a $20 million shortfall in its operating budget.

“This hasn’t happened since the late 1990s. It worries us — it’s not the first thing a new president wants to have to do,” said STM President Philippe Schnobb.

“We chose this as the solution that will have the least impact on our clientele.”

Schnobb says the cuts will mean waiting a few minutes longer for some bus routes.

"A bus that currently comes by every 15 minutes will come by every 18 to 20 minutes instead. When we add all this together, it totals 165,000 fewer hours of service,” Schnobb said.

STM calls cuts ‘minimal’

The STM says most commuters won’t notice a difference in service.

“About 80 per cent of ridership [will have] no change whatsoever,” said STM’s vice-chair Marvin Rotrand.

STM officials promise the cuts will fall outside of rush hour, and says metro service will not be affected at all.

The corporation says it will also make cuts within its administration.