Public transportation | On the eve of a consultation, Montreal launches a public survey

A few days before the opening of a public consultation on the subject, Montreal wants to have residents’ opinions on the development and financing of public transportation, which is going through a crisis more than ever.

Citizens of the Montreal metropolitan area will be able to respond to a questionnaire which will be posted online this Wednesday on the City’s website. A specialized firm prepared the survey, with the aim of determining more precisely the degree of acceptance of the population towards different possible avenues, particularly in terms of financing.

A survey will also be conducted by this same firm among a “representative panel” of the Montreal population, in order to confirm or refute trends.

All this comes as a group of elected officials from the Commission on Finance and Administration will begin to hear from different organizations and representatives of civil society, starting next Monday. The consultation on metropolitan financing of public transportation was first launched on May 6 with an information session and will culminate on June 14 with the adoption of recommendations.

More than ever, while expenses are expected to be numerous and tariff income is weakened by teleworking, the objective is to diversify sources of income. In 2025, in Greater Montreal alone, the shortfall of transportation companies is estimated at $561 million, but it will jump the following year to 605 million, then to 670 million and to 700 million in 2028.

Many options are on the table to better finance public transportation, including difficult choices such as lowering the level of service in certain places, raising user fares, imposing new taxes on motorists, or even inflating the tax bill. owners.

Montreal reiterates that the savings generated by the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM), estimated at 134 million in 2024, “will not be sufficient to protect the investments planned for infrastructure maintenance and development […] without putting the service offering at risk.”

Meanwhile, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) has also committed to recurring savings of 100 million over five years. But at the STM, “85% of the budget is dedicated to service delivery, leaving little additional room for maneuver,” worries the City.

All this also comes at a time when an increase in spending of around 32% is planned for public transportation in Greater Montreal within four years, in 2028.

The Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, has indicated her desire to agree on the amount of government aid for 2025 by the summer. She also wishes to reach an agreement with transport companies for the next two years, in order to guarantee a certain financial “predictability”, as the community has been calling for for some time now.

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