During his tenure as chairman of the STM board of directors, Michel Labrecque revitalized the transit corporation

Press release

Chief executive officer Carl Desrosiers and members of the STM executive committee praise the exceptional work accomplished by Michel Labrecque as chairman of the board of directors from January 2009 to today.

Montréal, November 27, 2013 – Chief executive officer Carl Desrosiers and members of the STM executive committee praise the exceptional work accomplished by Michel Labrecque as chairman of the board of directors from January 2009 to today.

Driven by his energetic leadership, the STM reached new levels of ridership, thanks largely to PASTEC, the public transit service improvement program initiated in 2007. To do so, the total offer of service was expanded by 25% when the objective for growth was set at 16% by the Québec government. Results achieved in 2012 further confirmed the trend: the service offer grew to 168.3 million kilometres and the STM set a new, historic record for ridership with 412.6 million passenger rides, while maintaining its overall customer satisfaction level at 88%.

In 2011, the STM adopted its ambitious 2020 Strategic Plan aimed at meeting the public’s needs in terms of sustainable mobility, while out-performing all other public transit systems in North America. With a clear game plan in hand, the STM is aiming to reach 540 million passenger rides by 2020, banking on an enhanced customer experience and on major investments in infrastructure maintenance, rolling stock acquisition, and service offer expansion, as well as the diversification and electrification of public transportation modes. In line with these goals, the STM has undertaken a number of other large projects, namely the new AZUR métro cars, its Réno-Métro program, the complete renovation of Berri-UQAM station, bus preferential measures, iBus, electrification of surface transit, bus fleet renewal, upgrading of installations (Stinson Centre and Complexe Crémazie), OPUS, in addition to launching a new corporate brand known as Society in Motion.

Among his accomplishments representing transit users, Mr. Labrecque pushed to expand customer information, particularly through social media. Over the past few years, communication with customers has evolved and now includes the new electronic communications channels, transforming the traditionally-used platforms and creating a new, digital universe for the STM with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. In response to growing interest shown by customers for métro service updates, the STM created four Twitter accounts for its métro lines. The growing numbers of subscribers illustrates the interest for and relevance of such a service.

During that time, the STM also made the issue of sustainability a priority. As early as 2010, it adopted a corporate policy on sustainable development and made a clear commitment by signing the Sustainable Development Charter initiated by the Union internationale des transports publics (UITP). The STM published its Sustainability Plan, the scope of which extends to 2020, and also stipulates that environmental, economic and social considerations, including universal accessibility, are to be integrated into all of its activities and business processes. Thanks to efforts by the STM and its partners, Montréal was chosen to host the 62nd UITP World Congress and Exhibition, focusing on urban mobility and transportation, taking place in 2017 when the City of Montréal marks its 375th anniversary.

In terms of performance, the métro was acknowledged by Imperial College London as the most productive in the world for four consecutive years, from 2008 to 2011. The STM has also earned 56 distinctions, including two Mercuriades awards from the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec in 2012, was named Outstanding Public Transportation System in North America by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in 2010, and received the Special Merit Award for Commitment to the Environment at the 2011 MetroRail conference in Milan.

His tenure was also defined by good labour relations. Despite a tight financial framework, settlements were reached last year with all six unions, ensuring a harmonious work environment until 2018. Moreover, an agreement about improvements in performance, which draws on employee mobilization and recognition for performance gains, was signed with the union representing maintenance workers. 

On the international stage, in 2011, the STM concluded the cultural exchange it initiated several years ago with the Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP). In return for the full restoration of the Guimard grillwork at the entrance to Square-Victoria station, the STM gifted a work of art, La Voix lactée, by Geneviève Cadieux, an impressive mosaic that now adorns a wall in Saint-Lazare métro station in Paris. Another such cultural exchange was entered into in 2013 with the Brussels métro; it will be completed in 2016, when the Montréal and Brussels métro systems respectively celebrate their 50th  and 40th anniversaries. 

Lastly, the STM made significant contributions to the transportation cocktail by operating buses equipped with bicycle racks on eight bus lines, initiating a pilot project for a shared reserved lane on Viau, another involving bicycle slides in two métro stations and yet another one for a bike-shelter with controlled access at Lionel-Groulx station. As Mr. Labrecque often remarked over the years, « For mobility, the future means a transportation mix, where different modes of transport are used during a given trip, a cocktail if you like, mixing traditional and new modes, shared and individual ones. And, without a doubt, bicycles are a major component of this mix, supported by the STM, to make a healthier alternative to single car use available to people. »  

As for Transgesco, the STM’s subsidiary company, its business model was transformed, leading it to take the necessary steps to identify, plan, develop and manage the more strategic partnerships, with Quebecor Media to install digital, interactive bus shelters, with Bell, Rogers, Telus and Vidéotron to deploy an underground mobile network, and with Sun Media Corporation to exclusively distribute the 24heures newspaper in Montréal’s métro system. Entered into following public calls for expressions of interest, these partnerships have made it possible to offer more to transit users. With earnings reaching nearly 35 million dollars in 2013, Transgesco is fulfilling its mandate for developing non-fare revenue, while respecting the STM’s mission.

« On behalf of all executive committee members and STM employees, I would like to sincerely thank Michel Labrecque, a driven, committed and inspiring man, and pay tribute to all the work he carried out to promote  adequate funding for public transportation, through dedicated, indexed and recurring sources, to face the challenges of sustainable mobility, » declared Carl Desrosiers, STM Chief executive officer.  


Isabelle A. Tremblay
Direction principale – Affaires publiques
Société de transport de Montréal (STM)
Téléphone : (514) 280-4940