STM - Society in motion
The STM’s 2020 Strategic Plan is ambitious and in line with your needs. Today, Mr. Labrecque will answer any and all questions you may have about the plan’s underlying issues.
In order to ensure that everyone receives an answer and ensure the discussion runs smoothly, we ask that you:
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Clearly, this forum cannot be used to answer questions about daily operations. For any comment or complaint about service, please fill out the form at http://www.stm.info/comment/index.htm
Here, you can be sure we will be talking about our vision; we cannot be specific, for example, about which service improvements will be made on a given bus line.
I promise to answer all questions you will ask me about this strategic vision. However, it is possible that I may not have an immediate answer to certain questions. Rest assured that I will send you an answer as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking part in our Society in Motion !
Speech by Michel Labrecque, Chairman of the STM Board of Directors, to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, December 2, 2010
Hello ! The last time I was at the Board of Trade, I left the room driving a MR-08. This time, I am at the helm of a MPM-10, that stands for Montréal Pneumatic Material 2010. Why are the new métro cars important ? Because without them, the plan I am about to present today, the 2020 Strategic Plan, would not be possible.
I’ll set my stopwatch. Let me start by greeting the VIPs at the front table who accepted our invitation, greet the members of the Board of Directors who are here, and senior management and employees who have also joined us.
The 2020 Strategic Plan, I’m holding it in my hands. You can read about it, because it is now available on the STM website, so go to stm.info. It’s a summary of the plan, and if you read it, sitting in your chair by the fireplace during the Holidays, you will see where we are headed with our plan.
This is the métro car you have seen in the media. It’s the train we have been showing for the past 18 months to illustrate what we wanted. Starting today, however, I am announcing that we will also be consulting with our clients and the public, about three colour schemes. Something we call the cosmetics of the new métro, and we will be presenting three options.
Once again, I’m urging you to go to our website, at stm.info, to choose which one you prefer and vote for it.
A year and a half ago, the entire STM team had already been working on it for several months, even a few years. We were introducing the STM’s new brand image. Yellow for clients, blue for STM. Joined together, we created green for public transport and engaged in a dialogue with our clients on Twitter and Facebook. I heard that Lady Gaga just unsubscribed, but you can still stay with us on Twitter ! In short, we started talking with our clients by being active in the social media.
Our new brand image, you have seen it appear each time we take delivery of new vehicles, whether it’s 400 new, conventional 12-metre buses, new articulated ones, minibus vehicles for paratransit service or our neighbourhood shuttle service, the Navette Or, you can see the new brand logo, it’s all over the streets of Montréal. I said so last year and I say it again today : we have appropriated ‘green speech’ because sustainability is at the forefront of the STM’s concerns and those social, economic and environmental aspects, well, they represent our mission. We’re not making more room for car makers, no matter how green they are. We said we were “Going Green All the Way”, and in the past year, we’ve teamed up with just about everything that was anything in Montréal, in terms of events, be it sporting, cultural, artistic, festival and entertainment. From it all, I’ve purposely chosen a few events to tell people, if you take your car to work, that’s one thing, but if you attend an event, take public transit. It’s another way of approaching new clients.
We have also been introducing new services
That’s my bus line, the 427. It’s wonderful. How does it work? I’m in the Plateau Mont-Royal, and I used to take the 27 bus, get off at Laurier métro station, and take the Orange line to Bonaventure. So instead, because the Orange line is at full capacity during rush hour, the new bus line diverts passengers away from the métro, heading out as an express line from Rosemont—Petite-Patrie and the Plateau, down Saint-Denis street, then Berri, before joining the rapid lane on René-Lévesque boulevard. It takes me less time to travel today than before, and once the reserved lane is deployed along Saint-Joseph boulevard, we can probably cut down travel time by another 10-15%.
The 467 bus line. If you want to see where we’re headed… it already features real-time information, with GPS, and an electronic display that announces upcoming stops and a voice that reads them out. This allows the bus to signal its presence to traffic lights, which helps us save time, as they give buses a head start when the lights change, what I call VIP service for our bus drivers.
The 747 line is a resounding success. We developed that project : it features express service, seven stops, a visual signature created by STM people with a plane and a chevron. The service will provide a million rides this year. We had eight buses specially fitted inside to handle luggage, and we are buying eight others that will also be air-conditioned, because we are committed to conducting a pilot project on the air-conditioning of buses on appropriate bus routes.
This chart illustrates the challenges we faced in the last year. It took 60 years, from 1949 to 2009, for the STM to beat its own record of some 380 million rides per year. The post-war decline in public transit use, the increasing number of cars acquired by households, urban sprawl, construction of the highway system, construction of the métro, followed later by a second wave of métro expansion for the 1976 Olympics, introduction of the CAM, an unlimited travel monthly pass, and numerous delays caused by economic ups and downs. However, if you look at it from the year 2000, you can truly see significant growth in ridership, and its meaning is clear : when you improve service, when you invest in the quality of service, make it frequent and regular, you get results. But it still took us 60 years to get there.
Despite our efforts to enter all contests, one particular decision by management had a big impact : to challenge ourselves into measuring up against other great métro systems, other public transit companies around the world, and so we asked Imperial College in London to ‘measure’ the STM. And what the people at Imperial College told us is that, in terms of worked hours per kilometre-car, we are the most productive in the world. They also say that the Montréal métro produces the lowest levels of GHG per travelled kilometre. One of the reasons is that the electricity powering the métro is produced by hydroelectric dams. That was one acknowledgement we received. Another was an international award for sustainable development.
Mr. Yves Devin is running the STM. All of your applause goes to the STM : Mr. Devin, board members, management, and all 8900 employees have individually and collectively been deserving of the award as Outstanding Public Transit System in North America by the American Public Transportation Association. I will now ask APTA’s President, Mr. William Millar, to speak a few words.
Let’s move on to the STM’s 2020 Strategic Plan. It’s a legal requirement. We are governed by a law that applies specifically to public transit corporations. We must provide the Government of Québec with a project, a business plan, a strategic plan over 10 years that we readjust considerably every five years and review yearly. First, the plan, our vision, then I’ll describe the systems, and the reason why we pushing for this is to increase STM ridership by 40% by the end of 2020. It’s ambitious. You’ll see, together, we can make it happen.
We can make it happen because there will be new métro cars. That’s part A of the plan for the system. New railcars to replace the ones dating back to 1963, that have reached the end of their service life, that require constant care by our maintenance staff to remain operational. New railcars to raise the level of service and enable us to handle the métro extensions announced by the Mayor of Montréal, the Premier, and the Mayors of Laval and Longueuil. The initial extension to the East, the Blue line to Anjou, followed by the Orange line to Bois Franc, in addition to AMT’s work with the project bureau for the as yet undetermined stations in Laval and Longueuil. It’s fundamental to the STM’s strategy. When the métro starts running in the morning, it’s like having 142 Boeing 747s taking off. Without greenhouse gases. It runs. The métro is expensive to build, very expensive to maintain, but it delivers, it moves a lot of people. A nine-car métro train, that’s 40% more than one in Paris, a thousand passengers every 90 seconds. You leave from Laval and head for downtown. I can tell you that the metro, that’s serious business. The new métro is crucial to the STM.
The chart you see here shows the curve illustrating the number of kilometres in passenger service. We have currently reached a plateau because our teams of engineers and maintenance people have raised the level of performance to their highest. But when the new rolling stock is delivered, we will be able to offer an additional 20-25% in kilometre capacity. Our trains will feature 20% more capacity because of their open concept, boa style, instead of individual cars, and this will represent an important advantage for clients.
Part B of our Plan involves buses. There are unbelievable gains to be made regarding surface transportation. Unbelievable. Many cities around the world are rediscovering the virtues of buses. We want to expand our bus fleet from 1680 to 2114 vehicles, a 25% increase, including 400 articulated buses, and greater comfort. Buses are involved in what all modern public transit companies do : smart bus scheduling systems showing, in real-time, where each bus is located throughout the network. And once we have that information, we return it to passengers through a variety of mobile means, you choose the one you want.
In part B of our bus plan, there are also reserved lanes. This is major. Our network barely covers a hundred kilometres, a number we must essentially triple. Our strategy for that, you’ve already heard of the Bus Rapid Transit project, or high-level bus service as they say in France. It consists of one lane along Pie-IX boulevard, some $ 10 to 12 M per kilometre : a good performance in terms of quality of ride.
For bus service, we started by reviewing our groups of services. Our network’s backbone of 31 bus lines are now referred to as the ’10 minute MAX network’. It starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m. On these 31 lines, it’s a maximum of 10 minutes between buses, but it can also be a lot less during rush hour. We also deployed Navette Or shuttle services and we are preparing for a review of our night service in the spring.
Those are our new bus shelters. You know, we want to improve service for our clients. So we figured, four pieces of wood, a few nails, why bother getting fancy when you can go “no-frills” ? Wait, it’s that one. That’s the new bus shelter ! True, a new bus shelter will not make people rush to take public transit. Why can’t we have nice bus shelters, and why is that not an element of our service, starting with the bus, its cleanliness, its comfort, and including bus stops and how we outfit them ?
From that perspective, we also looked at bus propulsion. If we don’t want to be part of the problem in 10 years, we have to be part of the solution. And that means our buses have to switch to a new type of propulsion. You know, there was a time when Montréal transit was almost entirely electric. We had buses, of course, but we also had trolleys and tramways that were electric. We are going back to that. Our executives and our engineers tell us that by 2025, vehicle technology will be so advanced, that we will be buying zero emission buses. Until then, we are converting to hybrid drives.
The new tramways. If we consider them as just another means of transportation, then we are getting into numbers. Their cost, the infrastructure, the number of people using them. It serves as a matrix to determine if other modes provide good value in terms of quality, ride and kilometres. If we view them as an urban renewal project, storefront to storefront, that’s another type of project altogether.
Look, there is potential for increasing the offer of bus service, because once we have the buses, and we have the drivers, they can start earlier, we can increase bus frequency. When we say there is potential for Plan B’s buses, trolleys and trams, it’s for real.
Enough said about the system. Let’s talk about money. Our budget this year is 1.1 billion, and a little more for 2011. A balanced budget. If you look at revenues, the biggest chunk comes from passengers, with 44%. Next is the contribution by the Montréal agglomeration, with 33%. That’s a 60% increase over 10 years. Then we have government subsidies. The Québec government created a program and funds this program, called PASTEC, matching dollar for dollar. It also helps with paratransit.
Regional contributions are essentially derived from taxes on gas and vehicle registration. Other operating revenues, there’s work to be done, these are advertising, promotional and leasing revenues. As for the 0.7%, it’s not much, mostly symbolic, it’s the contribution by surrounding municipalities to the STM’s ‘metropolitan’ deficit for the métro.
As for expenditures, wages and salaries. Because transit means people and it takes people to run transit. That covers the budget.
Finances have also changed. If you look at passenger revenues, the STM’s clients have done their share year after year. This means we can now say : everyone will do theirs, because it will take a collective effort. So it evolves. The only downward curve is the little green one at the bottom, that unfortunately represents AMT. Less than 10% over 10 years. One day, AMT will have to explain why it is reducing its contribution to the STM.
New fares : two-trips, unlimited evening, weekly, four-month, annual subscriptions and occasional use.
Autonomous revenues have increased. These are métro systems from around the world, part of the Nova group, and our performance is not very good. We are trying to find ways, and with free newspapers, telecommunications, we can double these revenues. It’s not a lot, but it’s better than nothing.
Eleven billion dollars invested over 10 years. Don’t let the numbers rattle you. I was at the beginning, but I can tell you that some of the plan’s components are already a done deal. The métro cars, that’s settled. The tramway, the bus, that’s 50-50 with the government, we are working on hybrids, and already, for some projects, like iBus, like the MPM-10, the finances are in place, the BRT on Pie-IX, and for the project bureau, the money will follow, and we already have an agreement with the government for $500 M for these investments. The other source of financing is the contribution of motorists. I’ve talked about the network, the means, and all of that spells people. 8900 employees, people working with customers or in maintenance and repair shops. We would not be presenting Montrealers with such an increase in service if we didn’t believe we had a good team behind it all. This team is committed to its clients. In our 2020 Strategic Plan, everything called for in Phase I, bus punctuality, métro reliability, client experience, and client information, will all play a part.
Our strategic plan is ambitious, realistic and it made me…. What’s the word? Enthusiastic. During Board meetings, when the different teams came back, we asked ourselves : How much of an undertaking will that be? Why are we proposing this? Because international commitments were made, the Québec government’s 20% reduction in GHGs by 2020, Montréal’s 30% reduction target within its territory. So we thought : Let’s do our share. Even if the environment is not your cup of tea, even if you are sceptical about climate change, even if you hope the Cancun summit ends in failure, read the study by the Board of Trade, because you will see how public transit is 100% good for the economy, both for Montréal and the province, that it creates jobs.
Modal distribution : 59% for cars, 36% for public transit, 5% for other means. What we want is another 5%. Not you, sir, no obligation, not you either. We want 5% more. It can be 5% of people always giving up their car or it can be people taking public transit 5% of the time. It’s a two-fold strategy.
In closing, I already said we had set goals : if we were just another company, we would have set it at 8%. You know, 8% is not too difficult. What we do, we do well, but there is a transport plan and so we think to ourselves: this 18% goal, we can reach it if given the means, the network to do it. But the STM is stronger than that. For the STM, nothing less than 40% will do. Why? The 40% is coming. It’s emotional for me. I am a spokesperson, I was not born into the STM family. But when I arrived, I can tell you that once you discover the operational capabilities of these people, you don’t settle for 8%, you don’t settle for 18%, you say to yourself, we are going to reach a 40% growth in ridership, and gain 5% in modal share.