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Outgoing STM CEO says public transit faces a lot of challenges

Click to play video: 'STM outgoing CEO Luc Tremblay’s departure making waves' STM outgoing CEO Luc Tremblay’s departure making waves
WATCH: There is now fallout following the decision of the The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) CEO to step down. A former colleague of Luc Tremblay says they support his decision to leave, citing Montreal's largest public transit system is being overrun with bureaucracy. And it couldn't come at a worse time, when ridership is down and expenses are up. Tim Sargeant reports. – Jan 28, 2022

Luc Tremblay’s last day as CEO of Montreal’s largest mass transit system, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), is April 2nd.

In an interview with Global News, he says the time has come for him to allow someone else to take the helm.

Tremblay has been the CEO since 2014 and was the agency’s treasurer prior to that, beginning in 2007.

He joined the STM in 1994.

“I think it was time to pass up the torch,” he said.

But Tremblay’s decision comes at a time when he’s growing increasingly frustrated with the umbrella organization that oversees public transit in greater Montreal, the L’Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM).

“We are choking,” he says.

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Read more: New public transit fare structure to roll out this summer for Greater Montreal

Tremblay claims the ARTM is overreaching its mandate by operating Montreal’s bus and metro system rather than trying to find new ways to finance it.

“Let us do our jobs and do yours. Go get financing,” he said.

Tremblay argues the ARTM has become too bureaucratic and says the financing of the STM dates back to the 1990s and the ARTM needs to change that to make the STM more prosperous.

“It’s difficult to do my job right now with all those structures, the governance, it’s very hard, it’s complicated, it’s non-efficient,” he said.

In an email to Global News, Simon Charbonneau, a spokesperson for the ARTM released a statement that reads, “The change has not been easy for some and there has been resistance, unfortunately.”

The email continues, “The ARTM intends to pursue the renewal of public transit methods and we will work constructively with the STM’s next general management.”

A former vice-chairperson of the STM and colleague of Tremblay for years, Marin Rotrand, tells Global News he understands Tremblay’s frustrations with the ARTM.

“I can understand that entirely. I think the consensus in transit is that the reform has not worked,” he said.

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The STM budget in 2022 forecasts a $43-million deficit. Tremblay says ridership in December of 2021 was 40 per cent below compared to December 2019 and in January it was off more than 60 per cent compared to the same month in 2019.

Tremblay says his successor will face big challenges even after the pandemic.

He won’t say what he’s planning for the future, only that at 53, Tremblay says he’s too young to retire.

Click to play video: 'Community groups worried after Montreal transit authority inspectors granted new powers' Community groups worried after Montreal transit authority inspectors granted new powers
Community groups worried after Montreal transit authority inspectors granted new powers – May 7, 2021

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