Longueuil, October 5, 2021 — The Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) has released its annual report for 2020, entitled Écouter, s’adapter, se mobiliser! 2020 was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which clearly disrupted the organization's operations, leading to a sharp decrease in ridership. The Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) has issued a report that demonstrates the importance of public transit, now more than ever, and that outlines the various initiatives undertaken by the organization throughout the pandemic. Despite these difficult times, the performance indicators remained excellent across the network.
Highlights of 2020
Ridership and service offer
Due to the lockdowns, schools and businesses having to close, and employees being forced to work from home, the RTL’s ridership numbers dropped for the first time in five years, down 54% for regular transit and 53% for paratransit. However, the year was shaping up well before the pandemic hit, with ridership up 3.8% in January and 3.2% in February. Fortunately, by September 2021, the situation had gradually corrected itself, with ridership back up to 58% of what it was at the same time in 2019.
It’s worth noting that the pandemic also revealed the importance of public transit in getting many frontline workers to and from their jobs. Healthcare workers and employees of essential businesses who used public transit on a daily basis continued to do so, ensuring their services were maintained during the pandemic.
Cutting expenses and layoffs
With the drop in ridership, the RTL has had little choice but to cut spending to make sure public funds are managed adequately. In total, 103 positions were eliminated across all job categories (drivers, maintenance workers, office workers, and managers). This strategy allowed the RTL to save $32.6 million compared to the original budget.
Despite the difficult choices made in 2020, the RTL continued to expand, making several improvements to its network:
- • Addition of a reserved lane on boulevard Cousineau;
- • Modernization of bus shelters;
- • Addition of two accessible transit lines;
- • Acquisition of 5 electric buses (midibuses), beginning the electrification of the network;
- • Addition of 32 hybrid buses.
The RTL’s teams, unions, and managers all rallied together to find solutions to the challenges posed by the pandemic. The fact that all stakeholders worked together made all the difference in this situation.
Safety is the priority
The watchword this year was “safety.” As such, the RTL worked with public health authorities and the CNESST to introduce health measures and strict cleaning and disinfection protocols in all its buses and facilities, in order to reduce the risk of contagion and keep operations running.
More than ever, communication was a central priority for the organization. Throughout the year, the RTL reassured users, employees, and citizens by keeping them informed of initiatives to protect them and keep its services running. In May, for the second year in a row, the RTL’s communication strategy earned it the silver medal in the category “COVID-19 strategic communication campaign,” awarded by the Société québécoise des professionnels en relations publiques (SQPRP).
The 2020 annual report is available for consultation on the RTL’s website (French only).
About the RTL
The Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) is the main transit provider for individuals within the five cities that comprise the Agglomération de Longueuil.
The third-largest public transit organization in Québec, the RTL operates a network of 793 kilometres. With some 1,100 employees, the RTL is a major employer that contributes to the economic vitality of the region.
Ever receptive to its users, the RTL plays a key role in the lives of the people and the communities it serves by providing solutions that are efficient, innovative, and adapted to the evolving needs
of its clientele. Improving quality of life for the citizens of the Agglomération de Longueuil is a top priority for the RTL.