The Laval transit corporation is a bit of a data nerd, and proud of it.
That’s why the STL is sharing some organizational key performance indicators (KPIs) it uses to benchmark transit service quality, ridership, productivity and the environment with the public.
More than bureaucratic buzz-speak, KPIs are internal short- and long-term targets set by the STL to meet objectives across its operations.
For example, did you know that the corporation offered 524,000 paratransit rides in 2019, meeting its objectives, a number that has soared not because of a recent increase in the number of paratransit users living in Laval, but due to the shrinking list of healthcare services that include transit service as part of care, so the STL has to step in.
The STL says its the first public transit authority in the Greater Montreal region to release such a wide range of indicators pertaining to its current operations, with users able to follow the annual progress of 13 key goals annually covering numerous facets of the rider experience and the STL’s productivity via an online summary dashboard.
“Nobody asked us for them,” neither the public nor elected officials, STL General Director Guy Picard told The Suburban. “We want to be transparent with our data and tell the public what we do with their money… It’s a level of maturity as a public body, that we started to have commitments to our clients to be on-time, be polite, and offer very good service.”
“It’s the way we have to work in 2019.”
One bad surprise in the data was on-time performance falling short at only 90 percent of its own targets. “It’s because of one reason and that is increased road congestion, recalling that the growing costs and challenges of soaring traffic numbers were the main thrust of the inter-municipality mobility forum that Laval hosted in 2018.
“We know about 40 percent of productivity is lost in traffic,” on highways in Laval and north of the city. “As car traffic increases, it makes our buses late and from 2015-2019 we can see decreases in on-time performance... Unfortunately we have no control over that.” It is technically possible to decrease travel time he says, but very costly to meet the same targets of -2-3 years ago. “It can have a big impact on our operational budget costs.”
The STL already boosts service by 2.5 percent per year to accommodate natural growth but will double that for the next five years in order to better serve Laval east-to-west, as well as improve frequency and comfort outside of peak hours, on evenings and weekends.
More positive news emerging from the data was a larger-than-forecast decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. As ridership increases faster than expected, the STL has sped up replacement of aging rolling stock, and that means more hybrids. With Quebec ending subsidies for purchase of gas or diesel buses in 2024, the all-electric fleet will begin taking over and GHG emissions will plummet he says. “Very dramatically and very rapidly.”