A small step for West Island bus service

About two and a half years ago, the STM introduced a new rush-hour bus route to the West Island. The 470 Express Pierrefonds was a strange beast, running limited-stop along the western half of Pierrefonds Blvd., then travelling up St. John’s Blvd. on regular-stop duty to Fairview. From there it would run non-stop straight to the Côte-Vertu metro station where most people would get off. The route ran, in both directions, during both rush hours.

The route turned out to be a big success, particularly for its non-stop shuttle service between Côte-Vertu and Fairview, which was the first of its kind. (The closest thing they had to it before then was the 216 Transcanadienne, which took the service road of Highway 40 and was designed to serve the industrial buildings in that corridor.)

But the bus was still rush-hour only, much to the annoyance of students, stay-at-home parents or anyone else without a car who wanted to do something during the day, at night or on the weekend. Some people (like me) have suggested over and over and over that the service be extended to become a regular 7-day route, just like the 211 Bord-du-Lac, which is non-stop between the Lionel-Groulx metro and Dorval train station, and then continues westbound to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. Because it’s so fast and frequent, it’s the most popular bus route serving the West Island.

Starting Monday, the STM will be taking the first (small) step in that direction. They’ve announced that the 470 will fill the gap between morning and afternoon rush-hours and run “all day” (see the schedule in PDF) on weekdays. (A similar announcement was made about the 194 Métrobus Rivière-des-Prairies on the other side of the island, just to make sure us anglos aren’t getting special treatment.)

That’s great news, unless you plan on staying downtown past 7 p.m. or want to go downtown on the weekend. And really, how many kids in the West Island would want to do that?

Another problem is with the schedule. About half the people who use the bus (based on my oh-so-scientific anecdotal guesstimation) use it solely for its metro shuttle part, and use another bus to get between home and Fairview. Most of those buses run every half hour on the half-hour, so they’re timed to arrive at the terminus and drop off their arriving passengers a few minutes before the half-hour mark.

Thing is, all but two of the eastbound departures from Fairview take place six minutes before the half-hour mark, about the same time as these buses are arriving. It’s a schedule that seems almost designed to make people miss connections from about a dozen different bus routes, and I can’t seem to find any reason why the schedule as a whole can’t be delayed by six minutes to make the transfers easier.

Hopefully these things will become very apparent to the STM very shortly after the additional service is launched on Monday.

3 thoughts on “A small step for West Island bus service

  1. Mama Fagstein

    An idea who’s time has finally come. It will make it so easy to get to Dawson during the day. But I agree about the schedule, it’s frustrating to get there just after the bus has left.

  2. Pingback: Fagstein » Hindsight is 470/20

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