It was a festive atmosphere as Messrs Michel Labrecque, chairman of the board of directors of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), and James C. Cherry, president and chief executive officer of Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), last Friday welcomed the 1 millionth client on the 747 Express bus, a little more than a year following its introduction. They also celebrated the event by handing out prizes and promotional items to some 20 clients at the airport departure point.
“This direct link between downtown Montréal and Montréal-Trudeau airport has been a resounding success since its introduction last year. Ridership has reached a level of some 3,500 trips per average weekday in the high season, and the public transit reflex seems to be taking hold with both clients and airport employees as more and more of them use it for their trips,” declared Labrecque.
“For both travellers and airport employees, the 747 Express service is a tremendous addition in customer service. We are delighted with the collaboration between the STM and ADM that led to the rapid introduction of an efficient public transit service between the airport and downtown,” stated Cherry.
According to a customer survey conducted last fall, the overall level of satisfaction with the service was 93 percent, while 99 percent of clients would recommend the service to friends or colleagues. Finally, 99 percent of respondents hoping to return to Montréal planned to take advantage of the new 747 service. It should be noted that the creation of the 747 Express bus line was part of the STM’s service improvement program, which is financed in equal parts by the ministère des Transports du Québec and the Ville de Montréal.
“On behalf of the STM and ADM, I would like to thank HMS Host and Airspa who generously contributed prizes to the draw that took place among passengers on the bus carrying the one-millionth passenger,” added Cherry.
Testing of air-conditioned buses equipped with WiFi
Since January, eight new buses equipped with air-conditioners have been in service on the 747 Express bus route, thus bringing to 16 the total number of buses dedicated to this line, each already equipped with three luggage racks. As the air-conditioner features an automatic system, the air-conditioning will be activated as soon as the temperature inside the bus deviates from the programmed temperature. These air-conditioned buses will provide greater comfort for clients taking the 747 line.
“In addition to the eight new buses on the 747 Express bus route, the Société also plans to put nine other regular air-conditioned buses into service this summer, accompanied by six regular ‘control’ buses, which will travel on ten or so routes on the Montréal territory. Trials are also planned for Paratransit minibuses. Four new minibuses will be equipped with data acquisition systems – two air-conditioned minibuses and two ‘control’ minibuses without air-conditioning,” added the STM chairman.
The Société will also conduct surveys among its employees, its clients using the regular network and its paratransit clients to gauge their level of satisfaction. As well, it will evaluate the technical (fuel consumption, associated costs and environmental impact) aspects of the air-conditioning as well the maintenance aspects.
Starting this summer, the Société will undertake a six-month pilot project to evaluate WiFi technology that would provide free Internet access for clients aboard these buses. This initiative involves the 16 buses on the 747 line and will include a customer survey.
The award-winning 747 line
It should also be noted that the 747 service is nominated in the Transport collectif category of the Association québécoise du transport routier’s Grands prix d’excellence 2011. In addition, ADM was a winner this past April at the Ville de Montréal’s Gala de reconnaissance en environnement et développement durable for its Écono-Écolo-Pratique program targeted at reducing dependence on the automobile, to which the 747 line contributed.