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Budget puts brakes on STC; service shutting down in May
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017 2:36PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:46PM CST
Saskatchewan Transportation Company is shutting down.
The province is putting the brakes on STC and ending the company’s operating and capital subsidies with its 2017-18 budget.
Passenger services will cease May 31 and freight services will end by May 19, according to the Saskatchewan government.
“Over the next five years, STC is forecasted to require more than $85 million in subsidies to continue operating. Our government believes that those funds can be put to better use elsewhere in government,” Crown Investments Minister Joe Hargrave said in a news release.
Declining ridership and increasing costs are to blame, he said.
Ridership has dropped 77 per cent since intercity bus travel was most popular in Saskatchewan 35 years ago, and STC’s per passenger subsidy has grown to $94 per passenger now from $25 per passenger 10 years ago.
Competition with private parcel delivery companies is also concerning, the province’s news release stated.
A total of 224 staff will be impacted by the shutdown.
“The decision to wind down STC was not arrived at easily,” Hargrave said.
“Over the last number of years, our government has made a determined effort to contain the growth of the company’s annual subsidy. But based on all of the trends, it is clear that ridership will continue to decline, costs will continue to rise and more and more money would go into STC to keep it operating.”
STC routes service 253 communities.
The company’s operations will be reduced on Wednesday and Thursday to allow STC staff and management to meet, the province says. Affected schedules can be found online.