On Tuesday, October 25th, 2011, Mr. Michel Labrecque, Chairman of the Societe de transport de Montreal Board of Directors has announced that public transit ridership has risen more than expected. In the first 9 months of the year, there were approximately 12 million trips more compared to the same period of 2010. The overall increase will allow reaching 405 million trips in 2011, thus breaking the 1947 record of 398 million trips.
According to the report the major factors that contributed to the increase in ridership are the introduction of the 10 minutes max network has yielded a 7% increase in ridership on 31 of the busiest bus lines; rapid services (metrobus, trainbus and express) that recorded an increase of 48%; the introduction of Express bus lines 467 – Saint-Michel and 427 – Saint-Joseph that have led to increases in ridership of 6% on Saint-Michel Boulevard and 65 % on Saint-Joseph Boulevard respectively and the creation of the 747 – Express Bus line recording a 32% increase in ridership in comparison with 2010 results per average weekday. Also, the increase of gas price and parking fees, road congestion and roadwork have played an important role.
However, the quality of the public transit service has worsened as well. The air conditioning trial project has halted; the complaint system is lacking feedback and bears a formal statistic purpose. Buses running over full capacity during peak hours, late buses and no-shows even on the 10 minute network have become regularity. Further expansion of service will soon be impossible because there aren’t enough buses to go around and not enough garage space to house them.
The Societe de transport de Montreal $1.1 billion operating budget will be probably increased in the 2012 municipal financial plan and another fare hike is not excluded.