The STL Launches the 2nd Edition of "Operation Smog Alert": It Will Drop its Fares 62% on Summer Smog Days

    LAVAL, QC, May 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The Société de transport de Laval is
launching the 2nd edition of "Operation Smog Alert". This year, the STL has
opted to donate to Equiterre the proceeds from the first 5,000 riders to take
advantage of the Smog Day discount in 2009. The Equiterre organization is
hailing "Operation Smog Alert" - an initiative taken by the Société de
transport de Laval (STL) and invite motorists to take the public transit.
    Launched last year and to be reintroduced starting June 1, this
initiative consists of reducing the bus fare to just $1 on smog days. The
objective of this operation is to encourage the use of public transit and, at
the same time, to cut down on the number of vehicles on the roads, which are
largely responsible for air pollution. The STL's cash fare is normally $2.60;
the special $1 fare granted to riders on smog days therefore corresponds to a
62% discount on the regular price.
    Operation Smog Alert will be in effect every smog day this summer, June 1
- Labour Day, September 7.
    "It's a very concrete opportunity for residents to do their share by
using mass transit," stated François Boulanger, Equiterre's Energy,
Transportation and Building Coordinator. "We are encouraging the other transit
corporations to follow in the STL's footsteps in order to extend this
initiative to the whole metropolitan region as well as to the other urban
areas affected by smog."
    A responsible, environmentally-sensitive corporation, the STL
distinguished itself in 2008 by creating its Smog Alerts, thereby becoming the
first and only carrier in Québec to actively take part in the battle to
improve the air quality with a special fare policy.
    It is estimated that this incentive could prompt 3,000 motorists to get
off our roads in one single day - half in the morning and as many in the
evening - and opt for public transit instead. The operation is therefore
doubly profitable for the environment, as in addition to convincing motorists
to leave their vehicles at home on smog days, it helps Equiterre pursue and
maximize its efforts to protect our environment.
    When the air quality goes below acceptable health standards, Environment
Canada issues the smog warnings.
    As soon as the warning is given, in the late afternoon, the STL puts its
Smog Alert process into action and this process will remain in effect all
throughout the following day. The fare discount will then be announced to the
various media, on Ville de Laval's electronic signs and on the variable
message signs of the Ministère des Transports du Québec, which are located
along the main highway corridors in the area.

    Established in 1993, the day after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro,
Equiterre adopted the mission of contributing toward building a social
movement by urging residents, organizations and governments to make
eco-friendly, equitable choices that show solidarity.

    The STL: facts and figures

    - Approximately 20 million annual trips
    - 235 buses and 700 employees
    - 25% more service since 2007, for a total increase of 32% by the end
      of 2011
    - The frequency of bus service, outside rush hours, during evenings and
      weekends, will double by 2011.
    - In January 2008, the STL reduced its regular fares - an unprecedented
      move in Québec. Guided by an environmental concern, this measure was
      instrumental in increasing the use of public transit in Laval.
    - In particular, the fare policy aims at encouraging families to use
      public transit: All adults who pay their fare on weekends and legal
      holidays may be accompanied, free of charge, by five children age 11
      and under.
    - In cooperation with Hydro-Québec, the STL is undertaking a feasibility
      study for an electric-powered trolleybus network.
    - The STL is financing Eco Mobile à Laval, a major operation to promote
      walking, cycling and mass transit among 20,000 Laval households.
    - All the vehicles in its fleet use B5 biodiesel, a fuel made from
      recycled oil but with no corn content.
    - All the vehicles are equipped with a real-time GPS tracking system.
    - By March 2010, a real-time display will be available on buses and at
      the 100 main bus stops, by means of mobile satellite service (MSS).

For further information:

For further information: Marie-Céline Bourgault, STL, Directrice,
Communications et marketing, (450) 662-5429; Eveline Trudel-Fugère, Equiterre,
(514) 605-2000

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