This year, UITP will once again join forces with our collaborators at Busworld to host the International Bus Conference 2019 (Brussels, 21-23 October) – the world’s biggest event dedicated to the bus.
There are many interesting and important developments happening with the bus sector and to place a much-welcomed spotlight on the industry, UITP began our 'Story of the Bus' this summer, marking 100 days until the sector arrives in Brussels.
Setting off in July, we have informed and updated the sector on the latest innovations and advancements with the release of five brand new bus publications.
Now, as we make the final part of our journey towards our Conference, we’re stopping off at the side of the road to meet and greet a selection of our international speakers and panellists…
What better way to get to know what we can look forward to during the 2019 International Bus Conference than a special sit-down with our speakers!
Up first is Renée Amilcar, Executive Director of Bus for Societe De Transport De Montreal and Chair of the UITP Bus Division, a Vice President of UITP and member of UITP’s Executive Board.
Renée, as Executive Director of Bus for Societe De Transport De Montreal, you have an extremely important role in the city’s public transport sector (Renee is in charge of more than 5,000 employees who deliver services and maintain a fleet of 1,800 buses). Can you tell our readers more about your role? What does an average day entail for you?
My role is very varied at the STM and encompasses several responsibilities. My main concern is to deliver the daily service while overcoming the numerous challenges during both the morning and afternoon service peaks. These challenges include providing a reliable service while renewing our STM infrastructures at a time when the city is also doing the same! I need to ensure that I have motivated and mobilised employees to face these challenges. I have to be on the lookout for new trends in transit, to be proactive, and influence stakeholders. In addition as Bus and Paratransit Manager, I need to be creative in elevating the company to achieve its quest for excellence in customer experience.
I would say to young women, get involved, be passionate and especially be bold!
UITP’s international events allow for the sharing of ideas and learning from one another to advance urban mobility around the world. What is Montreal doing right now in public transport that could inspire others?
The STM stands out in its ability to deliver service while minimising impacts on our customers. This is done while yearly asset maintenance projects approach the $1 billion mark! In addition, and despite this context, the STM continues to innovate in its quest for electrification, the construction of an increasingly avant-garde underground bus depot. Our new bus depot constructions are all designed to be Leed gold. Currently, only on the bus side of the STM, three bus depots are expanding, one is closed for urgent repairs, a new one is under construction and the purchase of land is being finalised for the construction of our 9th depot. Our bus fleet will grow by 15% from 2019 to 2020, a first for a long time!
You were recently appointed Chair of UITP’s Bus Division (Renee also sits on UITP’s Executive Board). We know that the sector needs to do more to encourage women to choose careers in public transport. What advice would you give?
My story with the UITP began in 2010. I was a member of the bus committee. Little by little, I had increasing responsibilities within this committee. I was the coordinator of a sub-group, VP to the president and I was very proud to be the first woman to appointed president on the bus committee in 2017. Since June of this year, I have been promoted to UITP VP and I also sit on the executive board. I have been passionately involved in UITP since I strongly believe that buses offer a socially responsible means of mobility. The new bus technology fascinates me and the time and effort that I invest is rewarding for the STM as well as for me personally. I would say to young women, get involved, be passionate and especially be bold!
The audience will have to remember that public transit is changing rapidly and we have to be in front of the parade as leaders.
For this year’s International Bus Conference you will participate on the Parallel Session 'Become a pioneer using innovative smart bus technology' (Wed 23 October, 11-12:30). What do you hope the audience will learn from this session?
The audience will have to remember that public transit is changing rapidly and we have to be in front of the parade as leaders. I also want to leave participants with the mark that creativity and being daring are the best tools to move forward.
And finally, our Bus Transport Unit Leader Arno Kerkhof recently described the bus sector as having been ‘resurrected’ due to the new developments and great advancements with energy and technology. What does the future of the bus look like from your standpoint?
The bus becomes THE solution. Heavy modes are expensive to implement and delays are especially very long. Buses are flexible, go almost everywhere using existing infrastructures and through electrification, buses will be clean in terms of emissions. The growth of service is easier to achieve with a bus network. The concrete example is the increase in the STM bus fleet, which will grow by 15% in 2020. WOA!
Did you see the unveiling of our International Bus Conference keynote speaker?
We’re delighted to be joined by Gloria Hutt Hesse, Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Chile! Stay tuned for more…