In 2021, the Société de transport de Laval is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Five decades of innovation, excellence, commitment and success. In perfect agreement with Ville de Laval and its citizens, the STL has developed over the years taking into account the changing demands and vision of Laval residents.
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the STL presents its history marked by its most important milestones which have made it one of the most successful transportation companies in North America.
The Commission de transport de la Ville de Laval (CTL) was founded on June 30, 1971. The CTL had a clear mission: Provide a public transit service that meets the needs of the Laval population.
Back in 1973, the CTL was already operating a large transportation network with 26 bus lines and its fleet increased from 91 buses to 151. The CTL operated in a wide territory. To get around in Laval, you need to take urban routes, but a Laval resident could also use suburban routes to get to Terrebonne, Rawdon, and even Brownsburg-Chatham! What's more, as of its founding, the CTL provided busing service for schools.
The CTL’s quick expansion, with 60 buses added, meant the transit authority had to acquire a larger garage that was more suited to its needs, located on Munck Street. To this day, it is still the STL’s garage.
In 1975, the CTL expanded its territory by operating between Montréal, at the Ahuntsic terminus, and the Dorval and Mirabel airports.
The CTL’s operations in 1976 are a testimony to the young transit authority’s dynamic capabilities. As the CTL wanted to better serve Laval residents, it acquired and installed 85 new bus shelters and added 25 new buses. To meet the needs of the growing transit authority, an expansion of the garage was already being planned in order to accommodate the new buses.
In August 1977, the CTL implemented the Trans-Laval card, a monthly pass allowing customers to use its network. As the transit authority wanted to convert more Laval residents to use public transit, it launched an extensive communication campaign showcasing its services.
The start of the 80s was marked by the CTL’s resolute desire to provide a better public transit experience to customers. In keeping with that aim, the CTL launched a new fare called Carte Autobus Laval (CAL), allowing pass holders to travel freely throughout its network. The transit authority hit the mark with this monthly fare pass as it quickly became a huge success with commuters.
In 1980, when the CTL had nearly 600 employees and 203 buses, major improvements were made to its garage, doubling its capacity and increasing its productivity. On September 15 of that same year, the CTL rolled out its paratransit service.
The CTL was also the driving force behind the development of the Laval terminus, located north of the Ahuntsic terminus, at the corner of Henri-Bourassa Boulevard and Lajeunesse Street. This new infrastructure would provide direct access to the metro via an underground path and make the commute even safer. This key project would be completed in 1983, with operations transferred from Ahuntsic terminus to Laval terminus.
As early as 1983, the CTL was a public transit leader by implementing a totally new type of electronic fare collection system, which would be a first in Canada at the time.
In September 1984, Pope Jean Paul II made his first official visit to Canada. The CTL was quite involved in planning the transportation scenarios for this unique event: 70 buses would be used to provide shuttle service between Laval and the Laval terminus, located in Montréal.
It was also in 1984 that all the bus stops were standardized, requiring some 2,000 signs to be replaced.
The year 1985 was a milestone in CTL’s history. The STL succeeded the CTL when the National Assembly of Québec passed the Act respecting the Société de transport de la Ville de Laval. From that point on, the STL would be administered by a board of directors comprising five members from the municipal council. The organizational structure would also change as Treasury, Customer Relations, Computer and Procurement departments were added to the Administration and Planning departments.
Public transit development outside the City of Laval forced the STL to review its service offering, which, in 1985, had 26 urban routes and 16 suburban routes. When intermunicipal boards of transport were established, the STL would stop serving part of the suburban network, a process that began a few years earlier with the end of the Ahuntsic–Mirabel link. As such, the STL could vary its service offering by creating new complementary services: residential lines for seniors and a shared taxi service.
Several major projects were carried out in 1988, the most significant being the inauguration of the reserved lane on Viau Bridge, which pleased customers and bus drivers alike.
Year 1989 marked an important process in the planning and development of the STL’s future. As it became more and more likely that the metro would be extended into Laval, the STL took the opportunity to review its network in anticipation of the upcoming extension.
During the 90s, the STL kept growing by offering a reliable public transit service that met the needs of Laval residents.
A new transit fare was launched on January 1, 1990, called the regional card, which allowed public transit users to travel throughout the entire metropolitan area. This fare would positively impact the STL. Ridership shot up, reaching 21,836,499 trips. The network had 32 lines and 671 employees at the time.
In order to satisfy growing operations and increasing ridership, the STL started extensive renovations on its garage.
In 1998, the STL laid the foundation for the Plan de transport interne (internal transportation plan), an in-depth review of the service on the whole territory of Laval. It resulted in a brand new network with improved trip times and fewer transfers to the benefit of all. As the STL was firmly engaged with the community, it expanded its range of services to include integrated school service with 12 new routes.
The 2000s would bring the greatest changes to the STL, including the metro extension to Laval as well as a commitment to its customers.
In 2001, after having defined service standards, policies and customer information tools, the STL launched the Quality Guarantee program. This bold program is founded on five criteria: punctuality, courtesy, cleanliness of buses, accuracy and validity of information. This was a unique program in North America that allowed our customers to express themselves and be heard.
The STL rode that momentum to roll out new tools to help customers, including a website and Chronobus, a platform showing bus stop times in real time.
As the decade started with the delivery of a new regional bus terminus in Laval – Le Carrefour terminus – the STL prepares for the arrival of the metro in Laval and its three new stations. The entire network would be overhauled and adapted to offer an efficient public transit service suited to this new reality. To this day, it is the most important transformation in the STL’s history. When the metro arrived in 2007, the STL had 225 buses, 41 lines and 720 employees.
With an expanded service offering, combined with the arrival of the OPUS card, the STL experienced a significant hike in ridership: more than 2 million extra trips were reported between 2000 and 2010.
The STL maintains its social engagement by launching a new special fare in 2008, called the Smog Alert fare. This initiative offers a $1 fare on smog days to encourage Laval residents to take public transit rather than drive alone. When the Smog Alert fare comes into effect, daily ridership increases by nearly 4%.
It’s been an extraordinary decade for the STL in the 2010s. A decade of progress, new commitments and renewal for the benefit of its customers. In 2010, the STL updated its communication with customers by implementing a new real-time information system in Laval terminuses. At the same time, new buses were added to meet the constantly growing volume of riders, which in turn required major expansions to its current garage.
In 2011, after having acquired enough buses equipped with a swing-over ramp, the STL was able to put its first accessible line into service: Line 60. More accessible lines were put into service from that point on, and the accessible network now has 17 lines.
As the STL was steadfastly focused on electric mobility as part of the energy transition in public transit, it acquired the DesignLine Eco-Smart electric bus equipped with a slow-charging battery system, after a study and a call for proposals in 2012. It is the first all-electric, 40-foot bus to operate in Québec. It underwent testing for several months in 2013 and 2014 to assess its reliability, driving conditions, actual driving range and maintenance requirements.
Driven by its sense of innovation, in 2013 the STL started one of the most important projects in its history: Bus priority measures. After having analyzed traffic congestion in Laval, the teams developed projects to improve trip times and provide an even more efficient public transit service.
The project, which would be completed four years later with the inauguration of the reserved central lane on Le Corbusier Boulevard, comprised:
Year 2014 marked the arrival of two new fares, one for youths and one for seniors: the XTRA pass and the Horizon 65+ pass. The XTRA pass entitled students age 17 and under to a very competitive fare during summer months, while the senior’s pass allowed Laval residents age 65 and over to travel for free at any time on the entire network.
2017 would turn out to be one of the most remarkable years for the STL in terms of customer experience. The highlight of the year is the Quality Guarantee program getting updated and renamed the STL Quality Commitment, and would now also include a compensation program. That same year, the STL started a pilot project using credit card payment on some bus lines to improve accessibility and efficiency of our service. The STL then had 900 employees and driven over 13 million kilometres on its routes.
In 2018, the STL organized, jointly with various partners, the Forum on mobility and public transit, whereby the 19 municipalities in the Montréal North Shore reached a consensus on various public transit network development projects. These investments, made over 15 years, would supress the number of solo drivers and relieve traffic congestion in the Laval and Lower Laurentians road corridors.
The STL enters a new era in 2019 with the arrival of the first all-electric, 40-foot, slow-charging bus in Québec that has a 250-km driving range. This first bus is part of a 10-bus order and lays the foundation for the STL’s goal to operate a fully electric bus fleet by 2040.
That same year, the STL came out with a new branding: Make public transit out of the ordinary, conveying it genuine, innovative and sustainable side.
Innovation is part of the STL’s DNA, pushing it to regularly question the status quo to ensure the highest quality and performance standards are met for the benefit of Laval residents. The efforts by the 1,020 employees were rewarded in 2019 when the STL earned the Prix performance Québec, the highest honour given by the Government of Québec in recognition of excellence in business practices.
With its focus on the future, the STL will continue to grow, in keeping with the changing needs and vision of Laval residents who are now more concerned than ever about their environmental footprint, as well as strive to adequately serve seniors and younger generations, and support a booming economy and vibrant culture.
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|Address||900 St-Martin Blvd
|Intersection||Industriel bldv and Michelin st
industriel and michelin
|Postal Code||H7S 1Y9