Tramlicious

Union Montreal's Tram plan: Orange lines denote planned routes

Union Montreal's Tram plan: Orange lines denote planned routes

Saturday’s Gazette has a feature from transportation reporter Andy Riga about whether trams are the future of transportation in Montreal.

There are two schools of thought on the matter. On the one hand are people like Projet Montréal’s Richard Bergeron, who get a hard on every time he hears the word and thinks there should be thousands of them (250 km worth) criss-crossing the city. He even has a proposal to replace Mont-Royal Ave. with a tram. Tram proponents (which also include Mayor Gérald Tremblay) say they’re clean, they’re fast and they’re fun, and they’ll attract tourists as well as those who think buses are too crowded and smelly.

On the other hand, there are those who think trams are too expensive for their purported benefits. They’re inflexible, require large infrastructure costs, and won’t actually pull more people out of their cars even as they necessarily reduce the amount of roadway available to traffic. The Gazette’s Henry Aubin, for example, thinks that trolley buses, which are also electric but can navigate around roadblocks and don’t require tracks, are a less sexy but much more sensible option.

The story comes in many parts, in print and online:

Having heard arguments on both sides, I’m still on the fence about tramways. I like the coolness factor and appreciate how efficient they are, but I also agree with the argument that trolley buses are more flexible. The idea of testing them out on routes that are simple, straight and begging for transit infrastructure (like Pie-IX) makes sense to me. If it’s successful, then we can ponder more complicated routes like Côte des Neiges, Park and Mont-Royal.

34 thoughts on “Tramlicious

  1. Richard

    A nit-pick: the map does not have Place-St-Henri metro on it; they seem to have confused it with Lionel-Groulx. My metro stop! The nerve!

    :)

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  2. Louis

    I don’t think trolley buses and tramways are to be put on the same level. Trolley buses are only buses powered by electricity. A good thing then, except it doesn’t solve the problems faced on highly crowded lines like Pie-IX or Côte-des-Neiges. Unless they are articulated and in proper site, which means we have all the trouble of building the lane, removing space for cars or parking, etc. Why not then put tracks and trams who carry even more passengers? Trolley buses and trams are to be used in different situations.

    If we are to build a tramway, we really need to implement it first on a real route, not one that goes nowhere like in the Union Montréal plan. When talks about a tramway started in Quebec City, mayor L’Allier proposed to have first a panoramic tram in the Vieux-Québec. This idea was ridiculed by car-lovers as a toy for tourists, and the whole tram project is now taboo because this image still sticks to it. A circular route round Old Montreal is to fail as the lack of interest for the 515 shows, and it won’t teach us anything about running a real tram line.

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  3. Cyril

    Actually, making mont-royal pedestrian with a tram would be pretty cool, except for the winter, of course…
    I’m not sure about running trams during the winter here

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    1. Jean Naimard

      Streetcars had so little problems running in winter that in the beginning, streetcar snowplows cleared the streets of snow…

      Reply
  4. Marc

    I’m more partial to electric buses. Maybe a solution to the snow problem would be to run the tram under a plexiglas canopy of some sort.

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  5. Jean Naimard

    That Raphaël Fischler dude is a real dinosaur. No wonder that he’s a teacher (he who teaches can’t do)…
    Of course streetcars will remove parking and traffic lanes! That’s the whole idea! You don’t want cars all over the place, and discouraging cars will mean more people will take transit.
    And streetcars are a good way to fix infrastructure.
    Some months ago, in an internal meeting, when various department heads were presented with the Park Avenue streetcar project, the guy in charge of the sewers got up, very alarmed: “but there is a brick sewer right under Park Avenue”!!!
    Precisely! When the streetcar will be built, the whole street and it’s aging sewer and aqueduct infrastructure will be rebuilt as well.
    Of course, streetcars are more expensive than buses. But they deliver far more bang for the buck. A bus is depreciated in 18 years, and that is after being rebuilt at least 3 times. A streetcar will last upwards of 40 years without significant heavy work (most components are modular, especially the high-wear ones such as the trucks, traction motors and gears, and they can be replaced quickly); there is no hot diesel engine that burns it’s components and needs to be rebuilt every 4-5 years or so.
    The track needs less maintenance than a roadway that accommodates trolley buses because, well, it’s much more solid and hefty; the steel rails are flexible, so they will not crack like concrete, and the steel also does not flow like the asphalt one can see at bus stops along Côte-des-Neiges.
    It also does not need to be cleared of snow, streetcars can incorporate snowplows to clear the snow as they trundle along their route, nor they need salting, as the very limited steel wheel on steel rail contact area provides extremely high pressure that will push away the thoughest ice.
    And, unlike electric buses (and the subway), streetcars do not need rubber tyres, a high-price item.
    Streetcars are much more comfortable; the ride is smoother, the passengers are not jerked like in a bus, and especially a trolley bus which has more acceleration than a bus. The insides are bigger, so there is room for more seats. Service is faster, as people get in through all the doors, instead of besides the driver like in a bus, so stops are shorter.
    As for the purported flexibility of trolleybuses, well, the 80 bus line has not changed since… since… since it was first served by streetcar, more than a century ago…

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    1. Becks

      Naimard and I disagree big time on other subjects but on the tram issue he’s 100% correct.
      One other thing…to the nay-sayers who want to make out winters an issue…Scandinavia,Russia,Poland…all these places have winters just as bad as ours…and they all use trams. And building new tram lines have to be alot cheaper than tunneling new metro lines.

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      1. Jean Naimard

        Heck, here, streetcars had no problem during the winters. They climbed Côte-Des-Neiges all year round! In fact, in the beginning, track-mounted snowplows even cleared the snow from the streets!

        Reply
  6. Maria Gatti

    I don’t agree with Mr Naimard about everything, but trams, yes. The tram along Mont-Royal will be most useful in the wintertime (during the other seasons, I cycle there); the 97 bus is notoriously slow. And now that the échangeur des Pins/du Parc has finally been eliminated, the coast is clear for the much needed avenue du Parc line, which would also alleviate the overcrowding on the orange métro line since the three Laval stations were added.

    Anyone who has lived in a city with modern rapid trams will appreciate the great difference in quality of service and ride as compared to jerky, uncomfortable buses. The Amsterdam trams (just to take an example I’m familiar with) are low-floor, fully-accessible for disabled people and parents with small children in strollers. They announce the next stop both by sound and visually.

    Trams have existed in some of the most wintry cities; not just here, but any cinéphile will remember the trams of revolutionary-epoch Petrograd (aka Leningrad, St-Petersburg) and the tram in Warsaw in the film “The Pianist” – where the tram running through the Ghetto without stopping is an emblem of exclusion.

    Steve, the history of the tram in Villeray is worth a read; the tram preceded much of the construction of the village of Villeray, between Montréal and Sault-aux-Recollets to the north, on Rivière-des-Prairies. I’ll try to return with more details; don’t want to lose this post.

    Flexibility is a mixed blessing; a lack of flexibility can also be a structuring factor. This is very clear in the case of métro lines, inflexible to the extreme. They tend to bring higher density and counteract sprawl. To a lesser extent this is also true of tramlines.

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  7. Jim J.

    I’m fascinated by this discussion. I have a few questions/thoughts:

    (1) What the hell is a trolley bus? Can anyone provide an example of a North American city that currently uses them? Is it just a regular bus, powered by electricity rather than diesel? If it is powered by electricity, does it use onboard batteries, an overhead pantograph, or some other manner of deriving traction power?

    (2) Could a tramway – and when I hear ‘tramway’ the first thing I think of is the streetcars in Toronto – negotiate the slopes on Camilien-Houde? I was under the impression there was a maximum grade that they could effectively traverse, and the section west of Parc Ave. is definitely pretty steep. Come to think of it, Cote-des-Neiges is a little steep in places, also.

    (3) I can see Pie-IX and Parc as excellent candidates for improved mass transit linkages. A loop through Vieux-Montreal seems…well, like a good idea, but a low priority. Would there be the possibility of taking the line that runs along Mont-Royal and extending it to the Pie-IX line (possibly by partially running it along St-Joseph)?

    (4) As for the point about removing traffic laneways, Jean Naimard makes a very good point – while mass transit needs to be mostly about making it easier/more convenient/cheaper for people to leave their cars behind, there does need to be at least some small element of it that makes it harder/less convenient/more expensive for people to use their cars; or, put another way, the decisions about how & where to place hypohetical tramways shouldn’t be informed by the fact that it may cause some inconveiences to car owners. No one has a God-given right to convenient/cheap parking.

    Man, I miss Montreal.

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    1. Jim J.

      Silly me; I just looked up “trolley bus” on Wikipedia and, well, guess what I found. So, feel free to ignore my question #1, or feel free to make fun of me if you wish.

      At the same time, I have never actually seen one of these things before – a city bus powered by an electric overhead.

      I also hear they have these newfangled things called “solar panels” that generate electricity straight from the sun. What’ll they think of next?

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      1. Marc

        a city bus powered by an electric overhead.

        Vancouver is full of them. I’ve been on them – no noise, no pollution.

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    2. Fagstein Post author

      2. There used to be a streetcar on Camilien Houde/Remembrance, so that’s definitely possible, though it’s not being suggested as a route yet because the 11 bus doesn’t have much traffic and it’s made kind of redundant by the blue line metro.

      3. Anything is possible. Projet Montréal has suggested a tram on Mont-Royal Ave., but the street is narrow which means something would need to give to accommodate it.

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    3. Jack B.

      Re: question (2):
      Modern trams usually have built-in sand “casters” mounted in front of the wheels which they will use to increase traction at steep slopes, for emergency braking, and occasionally in winter when the tracks are very icy. With that said, I’ve seen trams drive up slopes of around 10% under regular service all year round without issues.

      Actually, the only issue I’ve seen with trams in winter is that the overhead contact line for electricity can become isolated by an ice coating during an ice storm. The electricity collectors can then no longer grab power from the overhead lines. However, this is apparently an issue for all types of electrified railway.

      And please don’t think of those antique Toronto tanks when you talk about trams:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sarajevo_tram.jpg (in winter)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BLT_Tango_Batteriestrasse.jpg

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      1. Jim J.

        I suppose I should have clarified – when I said I thought of Toronto streetcars as “trams,” I meant the entire system – both infrastructure and rolling stock.

        I fully acknowledge that other cities (for the most part, European cities) have much more modern rolling stock, but to my eye, the supporting permanent infrastructure appears more or less the same now as it was 60 years ago. Rails, overhead power lines, exclusive rights-of-way (or not).

        If Montreal were to implement tramways, in what significant way would they differ from Toronto, aside from more modern rolling stock? (And, incidentally, Toronto seems to be just beginning the acquisition stage of updating their vehicles.)

        Reply
        1. Jack B.

          I’ve been to Dresden in Germany and if there’s one city with top-notch tram service, it is this one. They operate about 200km of tracks on 12 different lines (excluding bus lines), mind you in a city with only half a million residents:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden_Transport_Authority

          What is different there? Compared to Toronto, the quality of the tracks is light years better than those I remember from Toronto, where you’d have gaps of an inch or two between individual segments of track, for example. With better tracks the riding comfort is higher and trams can go faster.
          Secondly, most downtown tram lines in Dresden operate on tracks that are completely separate from road traffic, either in the middle of an avenue or on the side. Only on smaller streets they would share tracks with road traffic. Where the tracks are separate, there are platforms directly next to the tracks so people don’t get run over by cars when they exit a tram in the middle of an avenue. I can’t remember seeing any of those in Toronto.

          All those are things that can be implemented when planning a tram system from scratch, compared to just upgrading the rolling stock.

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          1. Jim J.

            Certain streetcar routes in Toronto do have dedicated and exclusive rights-of-way, with platforms for passengers to embark/disembark without having to be concerned with other circulating traffic. For example, the routes that run up and down Spadina Avenue, along Queen’s Quay on the lakeshore and, I think, St. Clair St. incorporate this feature.

            In addition, there are certain small segments of certain routes that run underground, although I don’t know the precise motivation for having done this – probably to better facilitate connections with some TTC subway stations, I suppose.

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    4. Anonymous

      (2) Modern trams are different than the streetcars in Toronto (though they are probably very overdue for modernization of their fleet), and here I assume they will at least have right-of-way if there is no grade separation. I’d love to see something like Paris’ or Lyon’s driverless trams, which I found to be about as flawless an implemenation of surface light rail that I could imagine. It ought to be clear why, except for initial capital costs and flexibility, trams are superior to bus fleets. As for the topography–there were streetcars navigating the same streets during the first half of the century. In San Francisco, for example, the streetcars often negotiate much more extreme hills than we might find here.

      (4) I agree, especially when considering the positive city-building effects that rail transit historically creates.

      And I don’t know why everyone keeps bringing up the snow…if anything trams are better at navigating through it than cars or buses. Again, didn’t we already have plenty of trams in this city? Does it snow here significantly more than it did 60 years ago? Why would roads and sidewalks be cleared of snow, but not tramways?

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    5. Marc

      I can see Pie-IX and Parc as excellent candidates for improved mass transit linkages. A loop through Vieux-Montreal seems…well, like a good idea, but a low priority

      Pie-IX and Cote des Neiges are the two top candidates if you ask me. A low priority indeed for a loop to Old Montreal, given the 515 bus ridership is practically nil. I’ve always found taking the metro to Champ-de-Mars an adequate way to get there, save for that yucky underground passage with the condemned escalator.

      there does need to be at least some small element of it that makes it harder/less convenient/more expensive for people to use their cars

      The only way I see that happening is resorting to drastic measures. 1) A $20 toll for entering downtown (Atwater-Papineau) with your car; 2) Tolls on all the bridges onto the island – $4 during peak hours and $2 all other times; 3) and gas – make it $3 per litre. Those, I guarantee you will get cars off the road. But only if proper transit is put in place. You can’t be all stick and no carrot.

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      1. Jim J.

        The only way I see that happening is resorting to drastic measures. 1) A $20 toll for entering downtown (Atwater-Papineau) with your car; 2) Tolls on all the bridges onto the island – $4 during peak hours and $2 all other times; 3) and gas – make it $3 per litre. Those, I guarantee you will get cars off the road. But only if proper transit is put in place. You can’t be all stick and no carrot.

        I agree entirely with those points – but I think what is the salient point is that some commentators are saying, “you can’t put a tram line there, because it will eliminate on-street parking, or eliminate a laneway of travel if you put in a dedicated right-of-way, etc. (I do think congestion charges are far and away the most efficient way, from a purely economic perspective, to remove cars from the streets, but that’s an argument for another day.)

        Then you get into a chicken-and-egg argument – we mustn’t inconvenience car owners, but then how do you create dedicated mass transit lanes without doing just that?

        My overall point is, one of the least important considerations in crafting a mass transit strategy is to give too much weight to the people who own/use/park cars. Should they be completely ignored? No. Should they be able to drive the bus (pun intended)? Again, no.

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    6. Jean Naimard

      (1) What the hell is a trolley bus?

      Montréal had several trolleybuses line, the 1/1A Amherst , 26 Beaubien, 94 Frontenac and 95 Bélanger, which ran until about 1966. (I remember being fascinated by the trolley poles getting flattenned when the trolley went under the underpass at Van-Horne/St-Laurent).
      Some photos here. Map here.

      (2) Could a tramway – and when I hear ‘tramway’ the first thing I think of is the streetcars in Toronto – negotiate the slopes on Camilien-Houde?

      Camilien-Houde actually was first a streecar line, later converted into a road. Probably the worst move ever by the city, even before hosting the olympic games. Photo and short article on Spacing Montréal. Other article. (Oddly enough, I can’t find pictures at all with Google.

      (3) I can see Pie-IX and Parc as excellent candidates for improved mass transit linkages. A loop through Vieux-Montreal seems…well, like a good idea, but a low priority. Would there be the possibility of taking the line that runs along Mont-Royal and extending it to the Pie-IX line (possibly by partially running it along St-Joseph)?

      That makes a lot of sense, going on St-Joseph to Pie-IX, if only to operationally tie the lines together.

      (4) No one has a God-given right to convenient/cheap parking.

      Well, with the recent parking meter fare hikes, this is less and less true… :)

      Man, I miss Montreal.

      Just come back.

      Reply
  8. Chris

    Maybe it’s just me, but could we build a tram on the outside of the city rather than downtown at all? Why is it we couldn’t build something like this in the west island to connect to downtown or some other areas that could then be built on the outskirts of the city rather than directly downtown. When I’m downtown I have no trouble getting around the subway system or using those bixi bikes or other such options. It seems like you need to be able to bring people from other places to downtown and be able to get back and forth rather than in downtown itself. In the West Island many people complain that the train stops at 12:30 or so and need to make it to central station on time to get back home or else take a expensive taxi ride home.

    If you could have a way to get downtown and back whenever you wanted to in an easy fashion then more people would stay in downtown longer. I only use the West Island as my own personal example since I live here but I’m sure others have other examples in places not that far from downtown on their own side of the city. I’m assuming my own example is the same reason why they’re finally building a train from the airport to downtown since it’s obvious to everyone except the government after so many years that people need to get to downtown from the airport. It’s a matter of getting people to downtown and back rather than moving around downtown once you’re actually there.

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    1. Fagstein Post author

      I think you sort of answer your own question there: There already is a train to the West Island. Two, in fact. It’s just a question of increasing their frequency.

      The STM did address this problem too with the creation of the 470 express bus, which was so successful it was quickly extended to evenings and weekends. But trams aren’t really useful for long-distance non-stop shuttles.

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      1. Chris

        The two trains that you mentioned include one train where people are packed like sardines on to it during rush hour which is only causing people to be pissed off and moving back to cars because of it. The other train which goes to Lucien-Lallier finishes at 9:45 approx. and comes like once every couple of hours. The bus idea might be successful but a tram going around the west island or possibly going somewhere in pierrefonds or cote-vertu directly to the orange line would help to move people towards the subway where they can then interconnect to the city much faster. If you want to improve the trains then frequency beyond midnight on the one train and once every hour on the other is a good start and double decker trains for the deux-montagne should be done to get people downtown in a much more efficient manner.

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        1. Fagstein Post author

          The problem is that trams have a per-kilometre cost, and only make sense in high-density areas. Pie-IX, Côte des Neiges, St. Michel and Park all have buses that come every couple of minutes during rush hour, and every 10 minutes outside of rush hour. The West Island isn’t anywhere near that level of service, and building a tram there would just be a waste of money.

          Let’s increase the frequency of the commuter trains, improve the night bus service and then find other ways to get West Islanders to their destinations faster.

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    2. Jean Naimard

      Maybe it’s just me, but could we build a tram on the outside of the city rather than downtown at all?

      Ironically, when Montréal was phasing-out the streetcars, it did exactly that; it killed the lines that went downtown first, and kept the outlying ones, to be removed last.
      But in order to justify a streetcar line, you need to have enough ridership, and that calls for density. So in a low-density area you would need to go along a big boulevard to justify it. However, I could very well see one line going east on Henri-Bourassa, and another one going west from Sunnybrooke to Fairview, under the hydro corridor just north of the 40.

      Why is it we couldn’t build something like this in the west island to connect to downtown or some other areas that could then be built on the outskirts of the city rather than directly downtown. When I’m downtown I have no trouble getting around the subway system or using those bixi bikes or other such options. It seems like you need to be able to bring people from other places to downtown and be able to get back and forth rather than in downtown itself. In the West Island many people complain that the train stops at 12:30 or so and need to make it to central station on time to get back home or else take a expensive taxi ride home.

      The west island, like all ’burbs, has very low density, which makes it hard to justify heavier transit that once every 30 minutes bus lines, unless they all act as feeders to a streetcar line. But then you’d have to transfer.

      If you could have a way to get downtown and back whenever you wanted to in an easy fashion then more people would stay in downtown longer.

      The last 211 bus leaves Lionel-Groulx at 25:20 and at 25:45 on saturdays… After that, you can always take the 356.

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  9. James Lawlor

    Fagstien, I’m sorry to say that I think you and Henry Aubin are on the wrong track (no pun intended) in supporting trolley buses.

    Trams are the way to go:
    They can transport more people per operator
    They can travel faster since they will be separated from cars
    They spend less time stopped at stations since they have more doors
    They use less energy per passenger
    They integrate better into the city
    They will help to convince people to leave their cars at home more than a trolley bus.

    For more of my points refer to my post on my
    blog.

    Let’s stop talking and start doing!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      To be clear, I’m still on the fence with trolley buses vs. trams. I see both sides. And while I personally like the idea of trams for the coolness factor (and the fact that they would be separate from car traffic), the cost is a big issue, not to mention that a single stalled car or other obstacle can shut down an entire line. And I’m not sure how many people will really leave their cars at home to take a streetcar.

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      1. Becks

        Cost…depends on what you’re compareing…even trams have to be cheaper than building more metro lines.

        I’m a car driver, haven’t used the metro or a bus in 35 years and have no intention of doing so…install a dependable, effecient tram system that actually gets people around the city, like Amsterdams for example, and my car gets parked….and I think you’d be pleasantly surprised at how many people stop useing their cars to use the trams. Its all in the planning and useing the expertise and knowledge of the people and cities that have excellent tram systems…

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          1. James Lawlor

            Trams are not the be-all and end-all of urban transportation. They are a medium capacity (and medium cost) system to complement buses (low capacity) and metros (high capacity).

            A little example:
            If you were in charge of the STM, would you stop operating the metro and instead run battalions of buses running along the route of the metro?

            You would be called crazy!

            Does it make sense to run buses every five minutes along the current high capacity bus corridors such Cote-des-neiges, Parc, Pie IX, Notre Dame, Cote-Vertu/Henri Bourassa?

            These routes are crying out for a more efficient system that trams can provide!

            Some more of my musings

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          2. Jean Naimard

            Trams are not the be-all and end-all of urban transportation.

            No, but they’re darn close; the’re so flexble* that they can offer all sorts of capacities between a bus and a subway line…

            They are a medium capacity (and medium cost) system to complement buses (low capacity) and metros (high capacity).
            A little example: If you were in charge of the STM, would you stop operating the metro and instead run battalions of buses running along the route of the metro?

            This what is actually done when service has to be interrupted. It doesn’t work perfectly, but it can in a cinch. Some 15 years ago, service was cut on week-ends to fix structural decay in the subway tunnels, and subtitute buses worked fine; granted, it was on week-ends, but it is only at rush hour that the métro is used at capacity.

            You would be called crazy!
            Does it make sense to run buses every five minutes along the current high capacity bus corridors such Cote-des-neiges, Parc, Pie IX, Notre Dame, Cote-Vertu/Henri Bourassa?
            These routes are crying out for a more efficient system that trams can provide!

            Not really, the low density of the environment there is perfect for a streetcar system.
            As it happens, the density in Montréal does not justify the great expanse of a subway, except in the downtown core, which, in terms of density, goes from Atwater to St-Laurent and Notre-Dame to Pine. What Montréal could have done instead of scrapping the streetcars and building the métro is build one or two downtown tunnels (say, under Sherbrooke and under Dorchester) where streetcars would have run, and revamp the existing system.
            People downtown then could have boarded the streetcar they needed as it would get out and get up, say, Girouard, Atwater, Guy/Côte-des-Neiges, Peel, Park, St-Laurent, St-Denis and Papineau. They would get one stop service up those streets, a wider area would have been covered and if one line had a breakdown, the whole system would not be interrupted.
            For the same price, a much better coverage would have been attained.
            But of course, this never would have happenned, it went so much against the ideology of the times; Drapeau wanted the streets to be clear for the cars that would drain the lifeblood of the city out in the suburbs and gut the city centre with parking lots and highways, and he wanted a shiny metro to put his name on… Oooooh! Shiny object!!!!
            * This is not a typo, but a joke. Get it? ;)

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      2. Jean Naimard

        To be clear, I’m still on the fence with trolley buses vs. trams. I see both sides. And while I personally like the idea of trams for the coolness factor (and the fact that they would be separate from car traffic),

        Aside from the coolness factor, there is the distinct comfort: the ride is much smoother (no potholes), silent (no motor nor tyres noise on pavement — you’d be surprised at how much the noise on a bus is attributable to the tyres), the acceleration and braking is smoother (no cars to get in the way — if you’re on a private right-of-way, of course), there is much more space available.

        the cost is a big issue,

        As of the cost, well, a streetcar track will last much longer for the same amount of money put on road, does not need as much maintenance, and will take less room as there is no going in and out of lanes as with a bus; for the same width of a bus, you can have a much narrower lane (by as much as 3 feet).
        Wherever they build a new streetcar line, they also redo all the utilities (which is used as an exaple of costliness by detractors whereas it is not) so they won’t have to dig the tracks to fix them; in a place where the aqueduc and sewers need to be redone, it is actually a plus, since you get the economy of scale of redoing all at the same time.

        not to mention that a single stalled car or other obstacle can shut down an entire line.

        Toronto has no problem handling that; streetcars are electric, and thus need much less maintenance and are less prone to breakdown than buses. A proper preventive maintenance programme will thus bring availability well past the “five nines” (99.999%). And for everything else, there are emergency trucks with cranes and whatnot needed to fix what goes wrong.

        And I’m not sure how many people will really leave their cars at home to take a streetcar.

        Buses are slow, smelly, and bumpy; they were actually a big player in the National City Lines conspiracy to drive people to cars (pun intended) as buses were made deliberately less comfortable than the streetcars they replaced. Everywhere they put new streetcars lines, ridership increases.
         

        Why would you use a tram and not the metro?

        Whenever I have the choice or the time, I take the bus instead of the Métro; it’s nice to see the city (by the way, the new articulated buses are a total disaster, all the seats are the horrible sideway seats from where you can’t look outside).

        Reply
  10. Becks

    I prefer the tram to the metro because I prefer the view….looking out into tunnels is not very appealing…at least on the tram you have a view out the windows…even at night

    Reply

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