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?