STO cancels Winterlude shuttles, offers fare discount due to ongoing labour action

The Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) is taking action in response to the ongoing work-to-rule campaign by drivers and mechanics.

The workers, represented by the Syndicat uni du Transport local 591, have been refusing to work overtime since January 20, after voting 98% in favour of a strike mandate in December. They’ve been without a contract since December 2014 and say scheduling issues are at the heart of their negotiations.

The STO has cancelled many trips throughout each of the days since that work-to-rule campaign began. They regularly tweet a list of cancelled trips on their Twitter account.

On Tuesday, the STO said it would be offering its customers a fare rebate of 25% for anyone who had purchased a January bus pass through their Multi Smart Card system. The rebate would be automatically applied in mid-February. The same rebate would also apply to anyone who purchases or has purchased a February pass, and would be applied in mid-March.

In addition, starting February 1, Mutli card users who pay for individual trips would only pay $2.50 per trip, down from $3.40. The STO is also giving Multi cards away for free if a customer loads a minimum of $10 on a new card.

The STO says Paratransit customers will also be compensated, despite the fact the work-to-rule action does not affect them.

In a second statement, the STO also announced it was cancelling its Winterlude Bus-O-Neige shuttles this year, citing drivers’ refusal to work overtime.

The STO says the free buses, which travel between the Robert-Guertin Arena and the Jacques-Cartier and Confederation parks, have seen an average of 33,200 trips over the three Winterlude weekends in the past five years. The STO says regular service to Jacques-Cartier Park remains in effect.