Users of the Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) in Gatineau were slightly less satisfied with the city's bus service last year, according to the results of an annual survey made public Thursday. 

Satisfaction with on-time performance dropped from seven points out of 10 in 2015 to 6.2 points last year. The quality of service also fell, according to respondents, by 0.5 points to 6.5.

STO president Gilles Carpentier pegs the decrease to traffic disruptions caused by road construction and street closures, particularly in Gatineau's Hull sector and across the river in downtown Ottawa. 

The STO board of directors knew users' impressions of the bus service would not increase, but nevertheless wanted to measure the impact on their travel experience by using polling and research firm Leger to conduct the survey.

"It was felt necessary to survey the users, because [...] it gives us a measure of the level of satisfaction under conditions that are known to be very imperfect," Carpentier said.

"The indicator allows us to guide our decisions."

Survey conducted before springtime STO strike

Six factors were assessed in the survey: quality of service, on-time performance, travel time, frequency of crossings, courtesy of drivers and information tools available. It should be noted the rotating strike of STO union members took place in the spring after respondents had already answered the Léger survey. 

Carpentier said measures had already been put in place to improve service, even before the results of the survey were unveiled, to better inform citizens and reduce their discontent. The STO now uses social media in a more careful way, he said.

The STO wants to increase its overall satisfaction rate to 7.8 out of 10 over the next 10 years by improving, among other things, its punctuality, the courtesy of its employees and the accessibility of its buses.

Leger conducted the survey of 1,003 City of Gatineau residents aged 18 and older (502 respondents were STO users) between Dec. 2 and 20, 2016. Interviews were conducted by telephone and on the internet. The results were measured according to the actual distribution of the population by area of ​​residence, sex, age and mother tongue, consistent with 2011 census data.

You can read the full results of the survey in the document below.

2016 STO satisfaction survey

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With files from Simon Deschamps