Who will have what?
Of the 3.03 billion budgeted by ARTM, the remuneration of Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) will be 1.6 billion, a 7.1% increase compared to 2022 for services and infrastructure. Exo will have about 469.3 million (+6%). , while the Longueuil Transport Network (RTL) will receive 184.1 million (+4.9%). In response, Société de Transport de Laval (STL) will receive 173 million (+5.4%). The ARTM thus estimates that it meets the needs to maintain assets, but recognizes that of operators’ “additional requests” for additional services, which totaled 95.8 million in 2023, it could provide only 39.4 million. would be able to. The service level will therefore remain unchanged or almost unchanged in 2023.
One observation seems clear from the outset: it will be necessary to continue “to optimize expenditure” and to “pool forces”, confirms Benoît Gendron, CEO of the authority. In March, his group proposed the creation of “high-frequency metropolitan axes” specifically to reduce costs. “We are targeting the month of September to provide feasibility of each and every savings opportunity. For the rest, each operator already has an objective of the reduction that has been given to him, and which is appropriate,” says Mr. Gendron. An action plan for public transport over five years is also expected in the fall, following consultations led by the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault.
still much needed
Despite 340 million government aid that was “critical” to balance its budget, ARTM would still face a deficit of 500 to 600 million in the medium term. The organization estimates the needs of “about 3.5 billion” over the next five years. “The government currently contributes about 48% of total public transit spending in Greater Montreal, and intends to return to about 35 or 36%. This shows the need to find new sources of funding,” explains Benoît Gendron . From the start, one track has been excluded: unreasonably increasing rates for users, “whom we want to get back on public transport first”.
What about estimated revenue?
By the end of 2023, public transportation in Greater Montreal should generate just over $777 million. Without the pandemic, this figure would have been 1.04 billion. This is still a significant increase compared to recent years, marked by health measures and higher rates of absenteeism in the metro. By registering, which will increase to 450 from January 2024, ARTM should bring in at least 125 million annually. “It is certain that it is important, it will come to our aid. It is this kind of leverage that we should continue to multiply in the years to come,” concluded the CEO.
The arrival of the Riseau Express Metropolitan (REM) may help the industry to increase traffic. Between September and April, the pre-pandemic ridership range averaged 71%, but by the end of 2023, ARTM expects it to be between 75% and 80%. One factor remains unknown: REM presence. “If it is weak, it will cost less, but if it is strong, we will inevitably have a slightly larger residual deficit. This is the only factor that can change; The rest is already provided for in our budget,” explains Mr. Gendron. For 2023, it sets REM’s cost per kilometer and per passenger at approximately 75.3 cents.