Latest information on union negotiations
The current negotiations regarding work contracts with our employees leave a lot of room for interpretation. The information about work management and performance is often based on a few facts instead of the whole picture.
To ensure you have complete information, here are a few facts explaining how we really do things.
The schedule is an essential tool. You might refer to it every day or even several times per day. Have you ever wondered how we create the schedules for our 221 bus lines that run seven days per week, 365 days per year? Here are some interesting facts about schedules:
Ridership fluctuates based on the area covered, time of day, days of the week and season. To deliver the right service at the right time, each bus line has a different schedule for Monday to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and all three change with each season.
A route is made up of stops between two terminuses in one direction. To determine the time that a bus will take to travel a full route, we consider several variables, such as route length, number of stops, distance between the stops, ridership, road traffic, and driver experience.
We also consider these two variables when determining travel time. When we receive advance notice of a major, long lasting construction, we can update travel time accordingly. In the past few years, the constant increase in traffic and construction has affected bus speed in Montréal. This is why we update planned travel times whenever possible.
Travel times for Monday to Friday routes are updated at least every 18 months, using observations made by drivers and operations staff, as well as computer tools. These updates are more frequent than in the past, when they were made about every five years. This is a huge undertaking, as a schedule is made up of many times. For Monday to Friday schedules only, we analyse more than 220,000 pieces of data related to routes every year.
Downtime can be seen as a buffer. Used at the end of the line, this time is a way to absorb potential delays that may occur during travel time (accident, congestion, etc.) and ensure regular service. Downtime represents 10% of travel time but is not included in it.
Our buses travel within the maximum allowed speed limit, which is determined by municipal authorities on the Island of Montréal. It is true that speed limits have been reduced in the past few months in certain areas. These changes, however, have had very little impact on planned schedules since our average operating speed is 18 km/h. In fact, we estimate that the new reduced speed limit, from 40 km/h to 30 km/h, could increase travel time from 30 seconds to a minute on a given route.
Reserved lanes, priority traffic lights and synchronized traffic lights ensure that priority is given to public transit. These measures also improve the efficiency and on-time delivery of service by reducing travel time by around 10%.
“Discussion committees” were implemented last year. They are made up of active drivers, planning and operations employees, and union representatives. Each bus garage has its own discussion committee. The purpose is to discuss issues that bus drivers experience and to implement solutions. Meetings are held regularly, and adjustments are made continually to the bus system in the weeks following the meetings.
Did you know?
- A bus is considered on time if it arrives at the stop up to 1 minute before and 3 minutes after the planned schedule.
- A bus does not necessarily make round trips on the same line all day. Once a bus has completed a route in one direction, sometimes, it goes on to another destination. These buses are called “in transit.”
- The average distance between two bus stops is 300 meters.
- Our buses travel at an average operating speed of 18 km/h.
A look back on the overtime strike
Immobilization of buses and service cancellations
The STM’s unionized maintenance personnel held an overtime strike from May 7 to 12. As a result of this pressure tactic, we were obliged to keep 57 buses that would normally have been on the road in the garage. Approximately 1,400 vehicles are required to deliver planned service during rush hours. In addition, we had to cancel a total of 513 hours of rush hour service on different lines and in different sectors due to the reduction in maintenance work.
The métro system and paratransit service were not affected.
Impact in the coming weeks and months
In addition to the immediate impact, the strike’s consequences are expected be felt over the coming weeks and even months, for various reasons.
There is a backlog of work to be done, as we have had to increase the number of work orders (requests for specific maintenance on identified buses). There were already 156 work orders before the strike, and at the end of the strike period, there were 186.
In addition, as we had to use a smaller bus fleet each day, the buses were overused. That means that these vehicles will reach the 20,000-km mark sooner than planned, and will have to be withdrawn from service for a compulsory SAAQ inspection.
The immediate impact of this situation will be felt until June, when employees start to go on vacation, which will slow down the volume of work. Ultimately, the consequences may be felt into September.
Find out where your bus is located before you start your trip
Did you know that for the past few days you have been able to check your bus’s location on a map? Available on our beta website and mobile website, as well as via the Transit and Chrono apps, this feature is more than ever a practical way to make sure that your bus is on its way.
Strike vote by bus drivers and métro operators
On May 3, the bus drivers, métro operators and support service employees union voted in favour of a strike mandate. As bus and métro service is subject to the law regarding the maintaining of essential services, in the event of a strike by this union, the STM has to be notified seven working days in advance. We will keep you posted.