Laval, June 14, 2023 — The Société de transport de Laval (STL) and the Autorité régionale du transport métropolitain (ARTM) are proud to announce that STL bus riders can now pay their bus fare with Interac® Debit, as a contactless payment option, a first in Quebec. The contactless technology simply requires to tap with their physical bank card or mobile phone or wearable device with digital wallet on the payment terminal. Riders get a single-trip fare, equivalent to paying with cash or with a credit card, including an automatic transfer. To make a transfer, STL customers would simply need to tap the same card or device on another STL bus within 120-minutes of the initial tap. This announcement marks the final step of a major research and development project on onboard credit and debit card payment—the first to launch in Canada in 2017.
The second phase, which started in 2020 with funding from the ARTM, equipped the entire STL bus fleet with the new-generation payment terminals. These terminals accept payment by credit and debit card, are compatible with digital wallets on smartphones and smartwatches, and include the automatic bus transfer function. The STL is the first public transit agency in Quebec to offer this new payment option and among the first in Canada.
To support the STL in the last phase of development, a new working group was formed with the ARTM and our providers Flowbird, Moneris and Interac. The group’s mandate was to:
- Roll out credit card payment on all STL buses (completed in March 2022).
- Develop the Interac Debit payment solution and roll out Interac Debit as a contactless payment option on STL buses (official announcement June 14, 2023).
Quote from Stéphane Boyer, Mayor of Laval
“Increasing public transit ridership in Laval is one of the key measures identified in our 2035 Climate Plan. With innovative initiatives such as the STL’s, we are taking part in this collective commitment while going one step further to encourage people to choose a greener mode of transportation. I’m proud that we can set an example like this in Laval.”
Quote from Sylvain Perras, Executive Director, Information Technologies at ARTM
“The ARTM is excited to be the driving force behind the implementation of new payment methods that make it easier for riders to get on board. This is a tremendous step forward for public transit services in the metropolitan region. We are firmly committed to modernizing the relationship between riders and public transit services to make sustainable mobility more attractive. Over the next few years, transit users will be gradually seeing new features and functions. Congratulations to the entire STL team!”
Quote from Jocelyne Frédéric-Gauthier, Chair of the STL Board of Directors
“As our goal is to constantly improve our customer experience and further democratize access to our services, we believe this new payment option will be a good response to one of the deterrents of using public transit, i.e., buying a fare. Now more than ever, considering the current climate change, we must make every effort to encourage Laval residents to add public transit into their commuting mix.”
Quote from Josée Roy, STL General Manager
“After several years of research, testing, successes and lessons learned, we’re especially proud of completing this huge and somewhat crazy innovation project, which started six years ago and has caused a few headaches for the work teams. It’s somewhat crazy but extremely handy to our riders: the popularity of contactless payment is undeniable and growing steadily since its very beginnings. STL riders had been asking for debit payment for a long time. Now it’s another argument for choosing public transit and it’s a simple and quick option for going out at the last minute. Crucial funding from the ARTM, which agreed to embark on this adventure with us, bears mentioning as it allowed this major metropolitan technological showcase project to continue and deepen.”
Quote from William Keliehor, Chief Commercial Officer, Interac Corp.
“Expanding Interac Debit to the STL network will provide transit riders across Laval with a quick and convenient option to pay for a ride directly from their banking account. When transit authorities add Interac Debit, they are offering riders a method of paymentthat almost 30 million Canadians already use for day-to-day transactions. Interac is proud to play a part in supporting the needs of transit riders in Quebec.”
Contactless payment in paratransit minibuses and taxis: another first in Quebec
Although the technology behind the solution is different, since they use commercial-type terminals that do not require any customized software solution, paratransit users have recently also been able to pay with a credit card or debit card for trips on paratransit vehicles. A partnership with COOP Taxi Laval and Chartrand Inc. was recently announced.
Credit card payment on buses since 2017
Since its launch, the credit card payment option has been steadily gaining popularity, and reducing the proportion of cash payment. It was in 2022, when sanitary measures in Quebec ended and the new terminals were installed in the entire STL bus fleet, that the strongest growth was recorded, breaking new records almost every month. Indeed, some 337,000 trips were paid for by credit card in 2022, i.e. double the number of 2019 (168,530 trips), and all our indicators point to a new record in 2023 since there are already more than 200 000 trips paid on board by credit card. Since 2017, the grand total is approaching one million with more than 871,000 trips so far.
Since the deployment of debit payment in the run-in phase a few weeks ago, we have already observed some 300 trips per day paid for by debit, which today brings the proportion of payments by bank card (credit or debit) to
25.7% of all purchases of single fares. This ratio was barely 9% in 2019. A gradual decrease in cash payments is also observed everywhere on the STL’s regular network.
About the Société de transport de Laval
Boasting a team of over 1,100 dedicated employees, the STL develops and operates an integrated network of buses, school service buses, shared taxis and paratransit vehicles. The STL’s regular bus service operates 46 routes with close to 2,700 stops across more than 1,500 km in the Laval area. stlaval.ca.
About the Autorité régionale du transport métropolitain (ARTM)
In a perspective of sustainable development and regional cohesion, the ARTM plans, organizes, finances, develops and promotes public transit and paratransit in the Montreal metropolitan area, in order to provide a simple, integrated, seamless, and efficient mobility experience. To do so, the ARTM works to mobilize the driving forces of the public transit community around a unified vision.
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Société de transport de Laval
Communications and Public Affairs Officer
Autorité régionale du transport métropolitain