12/22/2011 03:13 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

Montreal transit to break ridership record

The Montreal transit corporation (STM) said it will break a ridership record this year.

The STM said it expects to have more riders than at any point in the past 60 years.

Vice-president Marvin Rotrand said Thursday that the STM will have carried riders 405 million times this year.

He said several factors have caused more people to use public transit.

Rotrand said people have turned to the system because of traffic headaches and greater concern about the environment. He said increased public funding has also helped.

"The STM's had more money from the city. Mayor Tremblay is a huge supporter of public transit. The government of Quebec has come through. It's allowed us to renew our fleet, add extra vehicles, boost services and people have come," said Rotrand.

Challenges ahead

According to Rotrand, STM ridership will approach capacity in 2012 and the system will require an injection of cash to fund expansion plans, including more buses and more garages.

Rotrand said the STM doesn't want to hike fare prices, but he said it needs more money to expand.

He said the extra funds could come from different sources, including gasoline taxes, tolls on roads and bridges and more money from the federal government.