The punctuality rate of buses from the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) has been falling for several months, the official opposition lamented on Monday, calling on the Plante administration to take action. She recognizes that “challenges” are needed with “the resumption of road congestion”, but ensures that she is at work.
76.8%. This is precisely the percentage of Montreal buses that arrived on time in the territory last September. This is the lowest rate since 2019 in this regard, show the performance indicators of the transport company.
In August, the same figure was 79.9%, and in July 80.4%. At the beginning of the year, in January, we reached 86% punctuality on the various local lines. The decline is therefore around 10% in ten months. In the short term, the STM’s objective is to return to 80%.
All these facts resurfaced on Monday, at the municipal council, when the opposition councilor, Chantal Rossi, deplored that at a time when we are trying by all means to attract Montrealers to public transit, “the bus is late one out of four times.
“If we want to give motorists a taste for abandoning the comfort of their car, we must offer them real effective and competitive alternatives”, she argued, asking the administration if it could “guarantee” a improving bus punctuality rates by the end of 2022.
Stung to the quick, the chairman of the board of directors of the STM and municipal councilor, Éric Alan Caldwell, argued that actions are underway. “With the resumption of congestion in Montreal, [on doit] extract our buses from traffic, precisely to give them a competitive advantage,” he conceded, speaking of major challenges for the municipality.
According to Mr. Caldwell, however, the work is already well underway. “This is among other things why we announced the Bus Movement in 2021, in order to have more reserved lanes and better integration in our cities. We will not give up on this, because yes, you are right to say it, punctuality is important, ”said Mr. Caldwell again.
“Predictability in transportation drives us to continue investing in our infrastructure, in the purchase of buses […]in the maintenance of the metro with new equipment to increase reliability”, insisted the president, pleading globally for more “preferential measures” for users.
At the STM, spokesperson Justine Lord-Dufour recalls that historically, “September is usually down compared to the other months of the year in terms of punctuality, but it then improves until the end of the year “. “This is explained in particular by the impacts of road works which are mainly in the summer and in the fall”, she says, specifying that several measures are taken to “minimize detours in the face of obstacles”.
Mr. Caldwell also spoke of the “better work” now in place with the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM), which, with technological means, “gives an up-to-date situation on bus passages, to better predict displacements”. “This work, it is substantive, it is for this year, for the years to come, and we are very proud of it”, concluded the elected official.
These debates come as the ARTM launched a vast campaign last week inviting workers to return to public transport, placing it as “an essential vector of urban development centered on people and the environment”.
In the coming years, the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain expects to “return to growth of 2 to 3%” in its ridership per year. In other words, it could take ten or even fifteen years before we return to the pre-pandemic level.