Posted in Montreal, Public transit

STM tidbits: Three new routes, two new metro designs

New schedules start March 29

The STM will be introducing three new routes and extending a fourth during its quarterly schedule change (links go to Planibus PDFs):

  • 120 Lachine/LaSalle (Mon-Fri all day): Though not officially an express bus, this is being billed as a faster alternative to the 110 Centrale that connects Lachine with the Angrignon metro station. It has 18 stops compared to the 110’s 53 stops. Western terminus is Victoria and 55th Ave., passing through the Lafleur-Newman bus terminal, and then the Angrignon metro. Its eastern terminus is actually the Carrefour Angrignon. Service on the 110 bus is not being reduced.
  • 196 Parc Industriel Lachine (Mon-Fri daytime): An STM bus that connected nowhere with nowhere now goes somewhere: the eastern (northern?) terminus has been extended from Cavendish and Côte-Vertu to the Côte-Vertu metro station. There’s also a minor kink about halfway through the route that takes Joseph-Dubreuil St. to 32nd Ave.
  • 427 Express Saint-Joseph (Mon-Fri westbound mornings, eastbound afternoons): An express doubler for the 27 Saint-Joseph during rush hour, this bus keeps going after it reaches the metro, going down St-Denis and Berri and then René-Lévesque to terminate at the Guy-Concordia metro station. This will minimize transfers (taking many workers straight to their offices) as well as take some pressure off one of the most congested sections of the metro system during rush hour: the orange line between Laurier and Berri-UQAM. Only 32 departures each day, but it’s highly targetted to rush hour, with a headway of only 10 minutes. Service on the 27 is unaffected. (UPDATE: Seems Plateau mayor Luc Ferrandez has some concerns about this bus)
  • 747 Express Bus (24/7): The airport express bus, discussed in more detail in this post.

Metro cars may have fewer seats

Though it was reported back in January, it seems more certain now that, with all the delays pushing back the new metro car contract, the oldest cars still in service, the MR-63s used on the green line, will need to be kept longer and get an interior redesign to fit more people.

Unfortunately, the only way to fit more people into a confined space like this is to remove seats. The STM was to have put two prototype cars in service yesterday – one removes single seats near the ends of each car, while the other removes single seats near the centre of each car (removing double seats, like was done when the MR-73s were refitted, apparently isn’t feasible with these cars because of all the equipment underneath the double seats).

Obviously, not everyone is happy about the idea of squishing even more people into these cars and taking away the cherished single don’t-have-to-touch-anyone seats. Discussions are already under way at MetrodeMontreal.com and the Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board about it.

All-articulated bus routes in June

The Gazette’s Andy Riga has gotten Marvin Rotrand to tell him that three lines – 121 Sauvé-Côte-Vertu, 467 Express Saint-Michel and 535 R-Bus Du Parc/Côte des Neiges – will be served only by articulated buses as of June. Articulated buses will also be used on the 80 (Du Parc), 139 (Pie-IX), 165 (Côte-des-Neiges) and 67 (Saint-Michel) within a year, with studies about whether to expand them to the 18 (Beaubien), 24 (Sherbrooke – downtown), 105 (Sherbrooke – NDG), and 197 (Rosemont). Aside from having high ridership, the routes also need longer stop zones to accommodate the longer buses.

New daycamp fare

Buried in Riga’s piece is mention of a new type of fare the STM will be introducing on June 1. A daycamp fare will cost $12 and cover a trip for adult and 10 children under 13. (Children 5 and under already ride free with a fare-paying adult). This is similar to the family pass they brought in in 2008, which allows kids to ride free with their parents, but only on weekends and holidays.

This new fare will be welcome news for all those who take large groups of children on public transit, but will probably suck for a lot of people if this means more armies of prepubescent kids board STM buses around the island.

Service disruptions reported on Twitter – twice

In case you missed it, the STM is now finally reporting on the status of the metro system using Twitter and Facebook, as well as on their homepage. So far it has reported only one disruption – the green line going down on Sunday.

Annoyingly, the reports on Twitter and Facebook are all done twice – once in English and once in French. Nevermind that the STM hasn’t been the most English-friendly organization on the planet in the past, but why not just setup two accounts if you’re going to do that?

23 thoughts on “STM tidbits: Three new routes, two new metro designs

  1. j2

    Madrid’s light rail lines have seats that fold down when there are less people, and are folded up when they get really crowded. Of course, the public transit there is head and shoulders better than Montreal. (Yes, yes, denser population, more expensive transportation, I know.)

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Newer STM buses also have (some) seats that fold down. Though they would have to be locked somehow if the purpose were to prevent people from sitting when the train gets full.

      Reply
      1. Maria Gatti

        Those folding seats on public transport (famously in the Paris métro as well) and in old theatres are called strapontins in French.

        They can also have a political etc sense of a precarious seat at the table.

        It is a great word.

        Reply
  2. SMS

    Nice summary Fagstein, you even beat us transit fans to it on the CPTDB (but I’m not bitter…)

    First time I’ve seen borough boundaries actually made mention of explicitly on a Planibus (for the 427) – as if to drive the point home that these commuters can benefit from a one seat ride to the Central Business District (CBD).

    Not surprised to see 196 at Cote-Vertu sud (where it seems all the second rate buses get shoved – and this includes STL and CITPI). Then again, Cote-Vertu nord is bursting at the seams. I wouldn’t have minded to see the 196 paired up with the 174 flag.

    Finally, isn’t it great how the boroughs that stuck with Montreal have better transit service? (think Pierrefonds, Lachine, Ile-des-Soeurs for previous examples).

    I wouldn’t count on the 105 having articulateds until they opened their proposed garage at Stinson and Montpellier.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Finally, isn’t it great how the boroughs that stuck with Montreal have better transit service? (think Pierrefonds, Lachine, Ile-des-Soeurs for previous examples).

      I don’t think there’s any serious evidence of favouritism here. Île Bizard stuck with Montreal and it has horrible transit service.

      Reply
      1. emdx

        Île Bizard is not significantly worse than other parts in the west-island. The half-hourly service serves the densest areas of the island, and the bus has a decent run-time to Fairview.

        However, bus service around the island will not be foreseeable for a long while, because the road is too narrow for buses and it would be a crime to widen it as this would call for great disfigurment of the countryside. No, the solution would be to use small buses, à la 251 (no, not that kind of 251).

        Reply
      2. SMS

        Ile Bizard isn’t Montréal like Ile-des-Soeurs is when one can look out one’s window at the CBD. I don’t think city hall particularly cares one way or another about good ol’ Ile-Bizard.

        Reply
  3. emdx

    Oh great.

    It seems the more it goes, the more the STM wants to discourage people from riding transit. Removing seats is a good way to do so.

    The latest buses, including the articulated, are horrible in that respect, especially more so that they introduce the much hated and stupid saloon in the back where people are prohibited from looking outside the bus thanks to the inward facing seats (who wants to look at other people???*) and with those horrible pointless decals that completely block the windows.

    The STM could have saved a bundle by buying trucks instead.

    With the new low-floor buses until 2008, the STM had finally got the absolute perfect buses: with very few side-seats and a great number of front-facing seats, most people had a great view outside of the bus. And with the wheelchair entrance at the back, the view ahead was not marred by the big honking ugly cushion.

    Alas, all that good work was irremediably lost with the extremely stupid seat plan of the new buses.

    * «L’enfer, c’est les autres!» — Sartre.

    Reply
  4. James Lawlor

    I seem to remember that the STM stated that there would be all-door boarding with these new articulated buses. So far, this hasn’t happened.
    Because of the higher capacity, the time to board the new buses has increased because everyone is forced to use the driver’s door. Every day at Côte-Vertu I see long lines of people waiting to board the bus. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the limiting factor in the service frequency for the 121! From the STM’s point of view, they can carry more passengers per driver – a winner from labour costs standpoint.
    It seems that the STM is favouring bus routes that do not have on-street parking. The 121, 467, 535 all seem to be in this category. In contrast, the 105 (this one I know about) will require the removal of at least 2 parking spots per bus stop. I foresee complaints from merchant associations in the future!

    Reply
    1. Jane

      I think they are still trying to get people used to the whole “keep your transfer” thing first…That’s the only way all-door boarding can work! A lot of people seemed confused by this when STM people are swarming buses as people get off, asking for proof-of-payment.
      It would be nice if all buses changed to the “honour system”, it would cut boarding time down to a fraction!

      Reply
  5. Pierre Boucher

    I choose option C for the new layout metro cars :

    – Same number of seats
    – Place all the seats in rows
    – Add several “tripodes”

    Et voilà, you now have enough space to cram more people in, problem solved.

    Reply
  6. Omi-san

    I can’t believe it took the STM so long to realise that an express bus between downtown and the airport was needed.

    Reply
  7. Neumontréal

    Why not just do it in French? It could be an educational experience; English-speakers could learn the words “orange” “jaune” “verte” “bleue” “ligne” and “délai”.

    Reply
  8. Tux

    We don’t need a new floor plan, we need more trains. More buses. It’s gonna take ages to get them, and once we finally do considering the STMs track record on purchasing new vehicles they’ll probably be lemons.

    They’ve sure added a glossy coat of paint (Opus, green initiatives, their advertising rebranding) to the STM lately but it’s still the same old crap. Packed in stinking trains like sardines. Verbally abused by clowns dressed up like cops. Paying more for monthly passes every year with NO corresponding increase in the level of service.

    Plus ca change…

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      “with NO corresponding increase in the level of service”

      Perhaps you missed the part of this post that discusses the three new bus routes that have been created. Metro service saw a significant increase in 2008, and many bus routes have seen their schedules expand over the past couple of years.

      You may not consider the increases significant enough to match the price hikes, but they have been making improvements.

      Reply
      1. Tux

        Fagstein, when I refer to service, I refer to service across the board. Not just bus schedules. I’m talking about the “registered Opus” I was promised. I’m talking about the fact that on most of the buses I ride, drivers still don’t know how to brake or accelerate without jarring our internal organs, or turn tightly without throwing people out of their seats (yes, I’m serious). I’m talking about an endemic lack of respect (and bilingualism) from STM employees who deal with the public. I’m talking about improper ventilation on trains and in metro stations. I’m talking about escalators out of commission for 6 months.

        In fairness to the STM, they are making MUCH more of an effort than they were 10 years ago, and on certain routes (though none of the ones I ride) schedules are better, but they still have a long way to go, and I’m really tired of people saying “Look how much better things are!” when my transit experience hasn’t changed significantly in the 20-odd years I’ve been riding the system except that I’m paying them more than ever.

        (Cue people saying Montreal’s transit system is one of the cheapest in North America… I don’t care. I’d pay Toronto prices if I had air conditioning like they do, and if our commuter train system resembled tho GO system in terms of the frequency of trains and area of coverage)

        Reply
        1. Marc

          I don’t care. I’d pay Toronto prices if I had air conditioning like they do, and if our commuter train system resembled tho GO system in terms of the frequency of trains and area of coverage

          Well said! Unfortunately, the STM is staunchly against A/C because it’s not “green.”

          Reply
          1. emdx

            Toronto has air-conditionning because they have newer rolling stock.

            Granted, the various network extensions are a good reason for ordering extra-equipment, but the fact that the oldest cars in service (and htye will be be retired soon) were built in 1974 is a testament to the fact that either Toronto does not maintain it’s rolling stock as well as Montréal does, or that the rolling stock wears down much faster.

            Air-conditionning is a luxury in Montréal. It would be needed for 3 weeks at most anyways. And trains in Montréal are also always underground, a cooler environment as they are never exposed to direct sunlight.

            I would rather pay a cheaper fare than have air-conditonning in the subway.

            And Montréal may be “the cheapest transit system”, but salaries in Montréal are much lower than elsewhere in Canada, too (for some reason, this is never mentionned when one compares fares).

            Reply
        2. Tux

          I also wanted to add something I’ve seen several times… on Monday I was on the orange line going from Namur to Snowdon. At Cote-Ste-Catherine the metro stopped, but the doors didn’t open. The lights flickered and went out. Came back on. After a few minutes of sitting in the station with the doors closed, the driver announced a “probleme electrique” and said we’d be on our way in “Quelques instants”, up on the LED signs, the reason for the service interruption was given as “un porte bloqué”. I’m pretty sure that the STM regularly lies about the reasons for service interruptions; blaming them on things beyond their control when really electric and mechanical problems with the trains and metro infrastructure are a lot more common than they admit to.

          I was on the green line one time and they emptied out an entire (pretty sure it was overloaded… every car was STUFFED) train and again blamed it on blocked doors.

          It makes you think about their other claims… like how fraud loses them X-million dollars of revenue a year therefore they have to hire security guards to to give out tickets… when they could easily have solved their fraud problem once and for all by making the turnstiles un-jumpable, like those in Japan. It makes a lot more sense economically to lay down a few million for better turnstiles than it does to hire jackbooted thugs and pay them a salary in perpetuity. Make no mistake, those guards ARE thugs, they threaten, intimidate, pick on black kids, and dress up like cops to keep us afraid.

          Reply
      2. Marc

        Metro service saw a significant increase in 2008

        The train intervals are still unacceptable on the orange and green lines. The maximum waiting time on these should be 6 minutes. During rush hours far too many people are left on the platform unable to get on.

        Reply

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