Montréal, December 22, 2011 - Mr. Michel Labrecque, Chairman of the STM board of directors, announced today that the STM has broken its ridership record set in 1947 (64 years ago) by reaching a historic level of 398 349 773 annual passenger rides. This momentous ridership result within the integrated bus and métro network is all the more significant as it arrives barely one month after the anniversary marking 150 years of public transit in Montréal (November 27, 1861-2011). The STM expects that more than 15 million additional passenger rides (+ 4.5 %) will be completed in 2011 in comparison with 2010 results.
“To surpass the 400 million mark in annual passenger rides is quite significant, especially if you look at how public transit has evolved since 1945. At the end of the Second World War, about 80% of Montrealers relied heavily on bus, trolleybus and tramway networks. From then on, public transit declined through the 1960’s and 70’s due to the popularity of the automobile among households and highway construction that both greatly contributed to urban sprawl. It is only in the early years of the last decade that ridership started picking up, especially since 2006, within the framework of the provincial government’s public transit policy (Politique québécoise de transport collectif) and the city of Montréal’s transportation plan“, declared Mr. Labrecque.
To commemorate this remarkable record, the STM’s squad will extend its appreciation to customers by handing out protective OPUS card cases throughout the morning in Pie-IX, Square-Victoria, and McGill métro stations, and in the afternoon in Place-des-Arts, Berri-UQAM and Mont-Royal métro stations. Whether using public transit on a regular or occasional basis, such action is a positive way to a healthier environment. Indeed, in 2011, public transit rides have helped the planet just as much as 200 million trees or more per year, or about 2 000 times the entire forest atop Mont-Royal.
“Public transit is growing and we will strive to pursue our efforts to promote its use. But to sustain this growth, a double challenge remains. One priority is to invest in maintaining our infrastructure and renewing our bus and métro car fleets, and the other, absolutely essential, is to invest in service growth if we wish to meet our ambitious targets for sustainable development and to battle greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). As the end of the year approaches, allow me to take this opportunity during this festive season to thank all our customers who have contributed, whether on occasion or on a daily basis, to our success in 2011, and to all our employees who have made it all possible,” concluded the Chairman.
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