STM dealing with a bus shortage: report

If you've noticed something has been off with your morning bus it's not your imagination.

According to numbers obtained by the Montreal Gazette there are just under 550 STM buses not being used, parked away, waiting for maintenance or repairs. It works out to about 30 per cent of the fleet and a problem for public transit users.

The backlog has meant for the past two weeks the STM has not had enough buses working to meet its schedules. 

One employee told the newspaper that part of the problem is so many buses need urgent repairs, other problems such as the regular maintenance of a buses heating system, have been pushed to the back burner.

If a driver takes a bus out in the morning and the heating system is not working, which is a problem this time of year compared to summer; the bus is brought back to the garage and sent off for repairs.

In August unionized maintenance workers refused to work overtime for several weeks as part of pressure tactics in ongoing contract negotiations.

Some of the issues in new contract talks include outsourcing jobs currently handled internally and staffing. The union also wants the STM to hire new employees to help overworked workers.