LAVAL, QC, Dec. 11, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Société de transport de Laval's Board of Directors has adopted a new fare policy as a part of its 2016 budget. Our new budget is set at 136.6 million dollars which is a 4.2% increase over the 2015 budget. Despite these changes, the development of public transit and customer satisfaction remain our core priorities.
"Our Laval-based administration truly understands the importance of being dedicated to the promotion of public transit and 2016 will be no exception" said David De Cotis, President of the STL's Board of Directors. "Municipal contributions to the STL will be increased by 7% while local rate increases are limited to 1.6% on average. This is our way of thanking the people of Laval for their ever-increasing loyalty to public transit."
The results of the most recent Origin Destination (OD) Survey bear witness to the revitalizing effect of public transit in Laval. Between 2008 and 2013, Laval has seen a 28% increase in the use of public transit. In comparison, the entire metropolitan area only had a 10% growth rate. Over this same period, Laval has seen a marked population growth that expanded faster our fleet of buses. This is a unique situation for the entire Montreal region. The share of market played by public transit has increased by two points. From 18% in 2008, to the current 20%, this means that one out of every five Lavallers takes the bus every morning during rush hour.
We are predicting a 1% increase in ridership for 2016. Our service offer will be increased by 2% including the addition of a fifth accessible bus line for people with reduced mobility and people in wheelchairs.
The largest project yet
2016 will see the beginning of largest project the STL has ever taken on. "We will be implementing a series of preferential measures for buses (PMB) which will mean faster travel times for our clients" says Guy Picard, Director General of the STL. "In total, 227 intersections will be upgraded to smart traffic lights that will prioritize our vehicles when they are running behind schedule. Compared to driving, these measures will make the STL even more fluid, efficient and competitive."
Guy Picard adds "This will send a clear message about the quality of our service and that the STL is re-affirming its vow to quality. This formal commitment will mean punctual service, cleanliness, the provision of meaningful information, the right to express opinions and be heard and most importantly, comfort. To pursue these goals, we will be continuing the acquisition and replacement of bus shelters which contributes to the sustainability of public furniture at bus stops and ensures the comfort of our clients. The STL will also be acquiring 28 new air-conditioned hybrid buses to make travelling more comfortable."
2016 will also see the completion of our 20-million-dollar garage expansion project with will allow us to house an additional 60 buses. This three-year capital expenditure program will come to $165.5 million in total.
Sustaining the Horizon 65+ fare
The fare initiatives introduced in 2014 will remain in effect for 2016. The Horizon 65+ fare which has been a rousing success with 19,000 Lavallers to date is being maintained. The STL is the only transportation company in Canada to provide residents 65 years of age and older to travel for free using the Horizon 65+ fare which is valid throughout its service area with no restrictions.
The STL will also be expanding its family fare policy by allowing families to travel without having to pay a fare for children on weeks when school is out to help improve social inclusion.
The STL will also be reducing its fares by 40% in July and August for youths between the ages of 12 and 16 and it will be maintaining the $1 smog day fare. Not other transportation company has gone so far to encourage its riders to use public transit.
2016 will be a landmark year for public transit as the foundation of a new Metropolitan Governance is being established that will see the adoption of Bill 76 which is designed to improve the efficiency of public transit. The STL wholeheartedly believes in the guiding principles of this project and it intends to collaborate fully with the Transition Committee to improve this ambitious reform.
The STL will however continue to ensure that this new governance plan does not limit its ability to innovate through technological of fare policies. It will therefore remain attentive and ensure that seniors can continue to ride for free throughout Laval.
Rigour and continuous improvement
The STL has undertaken several actions over the past few years to improve its management practices and ensure Lavallers that the funds it has been allotted are managed with rigour and efficiency.
This care is equally true of its planning methods, heritage management projects and in the management of its preventative and curative maintenance programs. All sectors of the company are subject to continuous improvement activities.
These efforts were lauded by the 2015 Grands Prix québécois de la qualité where we were awarded the Grande Mention. This recognition is the highest distinction awarded annually by the Government of Quebec to private businesses and public organizations selected according to the quality of their management and their overall performance.
"We are particularly proud of this prize which recognizes the work done by all of our employees at the STL as it reflects more than fifteen years of hard work to continuously improve and innovate" says David De Cotis. "Our budget includes several measures dedicated to the improvement of our services but the people of Laval deserve more. They also rightly expect us to manage the funds we receive with irreproachable rigour and we can assure them that this is exactly what we are doing."
SOURCE Société de transport de Laval
For further information: Daniel Boismenu, Interim Director, Communications and marketing, 450 662-5400, ext. 2360, [email protected]