A pair of interesting bits of information are proving that more people are interested in public transit than even politicians might think. The metro extension to Laval has drawn in 20% more people than expected, enough that the STM has had to add a new train to the morning schedule. A cynic might suggest that the government intentionally lowballed the figure so it could herald the successes later, but that’s just crazy-talk.
The article hilariously compares the unexpected excess popularity to the unexpected excess price, even though the first is 20% over and the second is 450% over.
It also says that this means more cost to the STM because public transit is underfunded by the government. I’m not quite sure what one has to do with the other.
Some out-of-my-ass suggestions on why the Laval metro is getting so much action:
- It was hyped, like huge and stuff. Free transit on opening weekend turned it into more than a free ride. It was a circus. People brought their kids to see this thing. It was like a mini Expo. The AMT took advantage and setup special rides of the Blainville train. It was an event.
- On the same day the metro open, Laval’s entire public transit map was overhauled. Almost every bus route was changed. Most of the buses that service the western half of the island now go to the Montmorency metro. Most of the buses serving the eastern half go to Cartier. The move forced everyone to rethink how they had to get around, and for many that meant using the metro.
- It’s unclear how many people switched to the metro from the bus and how many people actually took up public transit as a result of this huge investment.
- There’s just plain more people living in Laval and north shore suburbs.
Meanwhile, ridership is up on the Montreal-Dorion/Rigaud train line compared to September of last year. Though the AMT is being cautious and waiting until the end-of-year numbers, it’s a good sign.
Unfortunately, service on that line is still less-than-stellar, due to scheduling problems with CP who run freight trains on the line west of Lachine, and the fact that the line from Dorval to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue is rendered redundant by the cheaper and more frequent 211 bus.