STL launches new tool that tracks bus occupancy throughout commute

A FIRST IN CANADA — COVID-19 - June 16, 2020

Laval, June 16, 2020 - Effective today, the Société de transport de Laval (STL) will make available on its website a new innovation that tells users how crowded their bus should be. What makes this tool so unique is that it provides an estimate of the number of passengers you should expect not only when you board, but also during the course of your entire bus trip – a first in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic has made social distancing in public transit situations a core concern for users. This tool will enable them to make informed decisions depending on bus crowdedness based on their comfort level.

STL vehicles have been equipped with GPS technology and passenger counters for years. Each day, they record occupancy levels at each bus stop, for each bus route, at each scheduled bus time. The data is then used to calculate an estimate of how many passengers are on the bus at a specified stop, at a specific time, based on the average trending during the five previous days. The calculations are updated daily. For now, estimates will be available for weekday bus service only.

The current release is a beta version, which will be improved continually based on user experiences and comments. Available on, on computers and smartphones.

Four easy steps

To find out the expected bus crowdedness, simply select:

  1. Bus route and direction
  2. Your starting bus stop
  3. Your destination bus stop
  4. Your departure time: Based on the commute you’ve selected in steps 1-2-3, the tool posts the maximum number of passengers you should expect on the bus for all of your day’s trips.

Four different ways to view the figures

Shown on a color gradient ranging from light (low occupancy) to dark (more crowded), you get:

  1. A map of bus stops with an estimate of how many passengers will be on the bus along each stop of the selected commute.
  2. A timeline of the estimated number of passengers on the bus along each stop.
  3. The number of minutes and % of trip spent with X passengers (pie chart).
  4. A detailed list of bus stops, scheduled bus times and expected bus crowdedness.

Quote from STL Board President Éric Morasse

“Since the project was already in the pipeline, we decided to push up the launch to make it available to users as soon as possible. Which is why this is a beta release for now, and the STL is asking everyone for their feedback, comments, and suggested improvements that we will integrate as we move forward. We believe in the role public transit plays in supporting the reopening of the economy, but we also know it is no longer always possible to social distance on buses. Together with continuing to insist on the importance of wearing a mask, this new tool will enable Laval residents to make fully informed decisions about their bus commutes.”

STL - COVID-19 survey

In May, the STL rolled out a survey process intended to periodically take the pulse of its users – 3 surveys in all: May, June and TBD. May’s findings show that 64% of respondents are worried of resuming using public transit, and that for 49% of respondents, the main worry is social distancing on buses.

Video demonstration:

For a complete rundown of COVID-19 measures in place, visit


The STL develops and operates an integrated network consisting of buses, school transport, shared taxis, and paratransit transport which together combine for 19+ million trips per year. The STL’s regular bus network consists of 46 routes, some 2,700 stops and covers over 1,400 kilometres across the Laval territory. The STL is among the most innovative transit authorities in the world.

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Photos available upon demand.



Estelle Lacroix

Communications Advisor

Société de transport de Laval

450 662-5400, ext. 8388

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