Now that they've been in service for almost a year, the STM will be evaluating the "senior" buses running through Côte-des-Neiges (21) and NDG (23), and disappointment with their popularity might lead to them being cancelled.
Is anyone surprised? Let's go over why these routes were a bad idea in the first place:
- They run only on Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., meaning you have to set your weekly schedule around them.
- They run only every 50-55 minutes, which means you can spend almost an hour waiting for a bus.
- They only stop where the STM thinks you want to go. So unless you live in a big apartment building and want to go to Loblaws, you're out of luck.
- The routes are confusing, even for me. Instead of going up and down a street like the very popular 105, they take wild loops around everywhere, passing on many major streets in only one direction, meaning you might have to go in the opposite direction of where you want to go.
- You can't find them listed if you go to the STM site and search for bus schedules. The only way to find them is to download the PDF flyers and search for departure times.
These routes, which were launched with much fanfare last June, were quite possibly the worst the STM have ever come up with, and that showed after the initial novelty quickly wore off with seniors.
What's hilarious about this is that the borough mayor, Michael Applebaum, is worried about wasting money. Why? Each route uses only a single bus for four hours a week. Compared to the cost of running a single regular route (like, say, the underused 138), it's barely a drop in the bucket.
Next time, focus less on the colour of the bus stops and more on how useful a new line will really be to users. There's nothing special about seniors that will cause them to embrace crap.