No new STM fare hikes in 2017; bus and metro ridership up slightly in 2016

Mayor Denis Coderre says there won't be any fee increases for bus and metro riders in the near future.

He made that announcement as the STM unveiled its 2016 annual report.

The transit authority reports ridership increased slightly in 2016, by 0.7 per cent — nearly offsetting last year's 0.9 per cent decline.

Montreal's bus and metro users took 416.2 million rides last year — one million rides short of the record set in 2014.

Part of that increase came in the west end, as many people ditched their cars and started taking buses and metros while the ongoing Turcot interchange rebuilding job continues — an effort which the mayor says will continue in 2017.

"We must now ensure that public transit in a viable option in sectors impacted by major work. The STM and the city will pursue their efforts accordingly."

Bus service increased to 3.73 million hours in 2016, up from 3.68 million. And in a year that saw the brand new Azur metro cars make their debut, metros travelled 79.3 million kilometres last year — an increase of a million hours.

Meanwhile, the STM blames the constant construction and traffic on the fact slightly fewer of its buses arrived on time in 2016 — 81.5 per cent did, down nearly 1 per cent.

Underground, 97.5 per cent of metro users arrived at their destinations on time — that was down from 97.7 per cent in 2015. The STM pinned the blame for that on a wave of system-wide shutdowns last fall.

The transit authority reports overall satisfaction with the network is up 3 per cent to 88 per cent, while customer complaints registered with the STM were down by a little over 3 per cent. Complaints about metro service, however, inched up slightly — in part, because of that rash of shutdowns.

The STM reported an operating surplus in 2016 of $2.9 million.