(Updated with changes to route 120)
Otherwise, there are a three schedule changes and one route change worth noting:
80, 165 to run concurrently with 535: The Parc and Côte des Neiges buses currently stop running during rush hour, making room for the 535 reserved-lane bus, which makes a giant U around the mountain and runs along both axes. I’ve always found this a bit bizarre, because it means a long time between driver breaks, and nobody is realistically going to travel down one and up the other. The stretch along René-Lévesque Blvd. connecting the two is filled with mostly empty buses even at the height of rush hour, which empty and fill up at the Guy-Concordia and Place des Arts metro stations.
The STM is helping to alleviate this by having the 80 and 165 buses run during rush hour along their 535 counterparts. This means they can maintain the same level of service along the heavy-use axes (the STM even says service will improve), while cutting down on all those empty buses along René-Lévesque. Those who use the 535 along René-Lévesque or otherwise make use of the 535 between the two metro stations can still do so, and buses will still run every six minutes or less.
120 extended to Dorval station: The 120 Lachine/LaSalle, a recently introduced bus connecting Angrignon metro to Lachine, has been extended westward to terminate at the Dorval train station instead of 55th Ave.
470 to run until 1am: This one is as predictable as it is long past due. The agonizingly slow progression of service on the 470 Express Pierrefonds will finally be complete as late-night departures are added, meaning the route will run past midnight seven days a week. Despite Marvin Rotrand using every excuse to call this route a “home run”, it’s taken more than five years from its launch in 2005 as a rush-hour-only route until it finally got all-day service. Midday service was added in 2007, then service was extended to 9pm weekdays in 2008, then weekend service was added a few months later.
Currently, the final departures are about 9pm weekdays and about 6:30pm weekends in both directions. Starting June 21, final departures from Côte-Vertu metro westbound will be 1:58am on Saturday nights (Sunday mornings) and 1:30am all other days, to coincide with the last metro trains arriving at Côte-Vertu. Eastbound, the final departures will arrive at Côte-Vertu around 12:30am Saturdays and midnight on other days.
A few weeks ago, on a trip to Pierrefonds, I had to take the 64 bus from Côte-Vertu and transfer to the 68 in Cartierville. I noticed about a dozen people making the same transfer, even though it was about midnight on a weeknight. Many of those people will be better served by this service, as will many who now drive, take commuter trains or don’t travel at all because they can’t take the two-hour trip.
On a side note, this will extend the hours of the Fairview bus terminal by an hour (from 1:20am to 2:20am) on Saturdays and half an hour (1:20am to 1:50am) on other days. Currently the 207 bus is the only one with a departure after 12:35am. Its 1:20am departure takes transfers from the last westbound 215 bus, which leaves Côte-Vertu at 12:40am (in fact, the STM has the same bus and driver do both departures). People who live in the middle of the West Island will be able to leave almost an hour later and still get home.
UPDATE (June 23): The STM’s press release about the 470 also says that starting August 30 the first departure will be timed to meet the first metro train at 5:30am. This will mean at no time will there be a metro that is not met by a 470 bus.
747 service every 10-12 minutes: The runaway success of the 747 airport express bus, which is pleasing everyone but cab drivers, has convinced the STM to boost its service during the day. During the day between 8am and 8pm, service intervals will be 10-12 minutes instead of 15-30 minutes, in both directions, seven days a week. Early morning, late night and overnight schedules are unchanged.
The STM says it will also be installing more fare machines at the airport, at Station Centrale and other touristy locations that dispense proper fares for the 747. Passengers can pay the $7 fare on the bus, but the fact that the machine doesn’t accept bills or give change makes it incredibly inconvenient for many travellers.
The STM says machines at “a dozen or so” metro stations will also be able to give out the fare, which works as a 24-hour pass for the entire STM system. I’m not sure why they can’t just have all machines give this out. Not only can a trip to the airport start from anywhere, but a $7 day pass can be useful for people who have no intention of using the 747. A couple of weeks ago, some out-of-town friends came by for a day trip, and were told by a metro attendant that to get the $7 day pass they had to buy (each) a $3.50 Opus card (the old scratch-style tourist passes are no longer being sold). It’s silly to ask a tourist to buy a smart card they might use once or twice when the 747 bus hands out disposable cards that do the same thing at no extra cost.
Other changes, like the creation of a new bus (No. 19) that serves Marché Central, will have to wait until the fall, it seems. Turns out the 19 is launching this summer after all.