Good news, Montrealers: Public transit fares not going up in 2017

Good news, Montrealers: Public transit fares not going up in 2017

Montreal public transit users won't have to shell out more money for the bus and Metro this year.

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) announced that all fares will remain the same for now when it released its 2016 annual report on Thursday.

However, that doesn't mean the freeze will continue in 2018, when a new regional organization, the ARTM, is to take over from the STM and will oversee fares.

The STM also unveiled a plan to provide better service to Montreal bus riders.

Director general Luc Tremblay acknowledged that punctuality is an issue and that more buses were late in 2016 than the previous year.

To address the problem, the transit agency plans to strategically deploy back-up buses on the 20 bus routes most affected by congestion and construction.

"We are in the process of rebuilding Montreal as you know it. That means there are many job sites around," said Mayor Denis Coderre. "We must now ensure that public transit is a viable option."

The idea is that the buses will be waiting near problem areas and then, based on live monitoring of the network, they will be added to a route when issues spring up.

The STM hopes to have the extra pools of buses out on the roads by June.

Other highlights:

- The STM expects to have all 58 AZUR Metro cars up and running by the deadline of 2018, as promised.

- All buses purchased in the future will have air conditioning. The STM says it will take up to 10 years to have a fully air-conditioned network of buses.

- A total of 90 client information screens have been installed around the city and should be functional by July. The digital screens provide real-time updates on when the next bus is coming.

- The total number of complaints dropped in 2016, but client complaints concerning employees, equipment and other factors actually went up.