Last month, the Montreal Transport Corporation (STM) received the prestigious honour of Outstanding Public Transportation System in North America, bestowed by the American Public Transportation Association, as part of the 2010 Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas.
The accolade was awarded by a committee of peers throughout North America. The STM won in the category of “largest public transportation system.” Yves Devin, the STM’s general director, was one of many officials who commented on the honour.
“I am very proud of this award,” he said in a press release. “It’s as if the STM had just won the Stanley Cup in its field. My pride is shared with all the employees who did a fantastic job and who spare no effort, every day, to provide our clients with quality services.”
APTA granted the honour to the STM in light of the results that they had achieved with regard to efficiency, growth, and overall satisfaction.
According to Virginia Miller, the senior manager of media relations for APTA, there are a variety of qualitative measures considered when surveying the efficiency of public transportation systems. One of the criteria was ridership.
“In 2009, a year when many public transit systems saw declines in ridership, the STM provided nearly 382 million trips, which is a 5.2 per cent increase since 2006,” Miller said. “During this same period, the metro increased levels of service by 30 per cent and its reliability improved more than 30 per cent.”
Riders’ overall satisfaction went up from 84 per cent in 2006 to 86 per cent in 2009. In addition, the bus network service jumped 18 per cent in 2009.
“They are already doing a great job,” Miller said. “The STM was consistently in the top tier among quantitative measures that judge efficiency. By winning the 2010 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award, they serve as a model for public transportation systems in North America.”
Another factor considered was safety, an area in which the STM was a leader in implementing a variety of new measures in recent years. According to Miller, the STM introduced a modern crisis management room to coordinate emergency measures. They also created a partnership with the Montreal Police Department in order to dedicate a neighbourhood police station specifically to the metro.
Beyond ridership and safety, the STM has proved to be efficient in other fields, including environmental sustainability. This can most likely be attributed to two things.
First, the entire fleet of STM buses runs on biodiesel, a non-toxic and biodegradable fuel that produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels.
A second initiative was the education of more than 2,000 bus drivers that the STM employs on green driving techniques, and ensuring the implementation of those techniques.
Additionally, the STM launched a successful educational campaign last year that focused on the benefits of public transportation for the environment, and encouraged people to use public transportation
The award provides definite distinction to the STM and to Canada in general, as an award of this calibre has not been given to a Canadian public transit system in more than 15 years.
“This is a great honour, as it was given by our peers who acknowledged our excellent results,” said Michel Labrecque, the Chairman of the STM Board of Directors. “There is no denying that the efforts we put into improving transit services and increasing ridership since 2007 have produced impressive results and that we must continue with our work.”