Wednesday, February 18, 2009

STC: Sick and Subsidized

The Leader-Post reports that the provincial government has approved a $7.8-million operating grant and a $1.8-million capital grant for Saskatchewan Transportation Company this year. This increases operating subsidies for the provincial bus company to $27 million over the past five years, not to mention many more capital grants.

One way to reduce the subsidy would be dealing with sick days--a $101.7 million problem in Saskatchewan government departments, crowns, and health regions. The average STC worker takes 12.4 sick days per year, 40% higher than the 8.8 they took in 2001 and higher than the Saskatchewan average of 8.3.

Alas the government has a different approach to ever-increasing losses at STC: begin routes to remote areas in the north and advertise even more.

"We've challenged the board and challenged management to look at creative ways of marketing STC and, you know, making it cool to ride the bus. We're looking at that and looking at some fairly aggressive campaigns over the next six months," [Minister of Crowns Ken] Cheveldayoff said in an interview.

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