The COVID-19 crisis has forced companies to rethink how work is organized and how employees get around. In fact, close to 73% of respondents to a Chamber survey initiated in July planned to implement a hybrid model combining working from home and on site, well beyond the pandemic. Transit authorities have faced major declines in ridership, because of the many people working at home and user concerns about the application of health guidelines.
Employee commuting to support a strong relaunch of the city’s economy
To support transit agencies as commuting resumes and for employees to return to work safely as economic activity restarts, the Chamber, in partnership with the Ville de Montréal, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du Québec and the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM), has launched the Employee Commute Initiative pilot project.
Designed for companies on the island of Montréal, this pilot project will collect data about employees’ commuting intentions between home and the workplace to help transit agencies forecast ridership and adapt their service offer to demand, while respecting public health guidelines.
Using a digital platform, employees of participating companies can anonymously enter their commuting plans – place and time of departure and arrival, preferred method of transportation – for the coming weeks. The non-nominal data will be sent to transit authorities, to offer them a better understanding of the pressure on public transit and to evaluate ridership.
Tools to help employers more efficiently manage employee travel
The Employee Commute Initiative also provides participating companies a digital dashboard, which offers an overview of their employees’ travel intentions. That way, employers have data on hand that will help them organize work and manage office space and scheduling. Communication tools are provided to companies to promote greater mobilization and better collaboration throughout their organization.
“We all have a responsibility as we resume economic activities in the city. And for a successful recovery, we need to ensure the efficient, safe return of employees to the workplace,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.
“The pilot project being launched by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and partners is a promising first step that will enable downtown employers to better plan their activities to offer greater flexibility to employees who will be returning to their workplace via public transit,” said Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal and President of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal.
“We are very enthusiastic about participating in this study, which will give us a better understanding of employee habits and commuting methods in Greater Montréal, to plan our service offer according to the changing needs during the pandemic,” said Philippe Schnobb, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the STM.