Tout l’monde transpire jusqu’aux orteils

I’m not necessarily in favour of spending millions of taxpayer dollars on massive air conditioning systems for the three or four weeks a year they’ll be useful, but I have to admit this Projet Montréal video is damn funny.

(The original, for those who haven’t seen it)

You can find the party’s dossier on the subject on its website. It includes those pictures of people holding up giant thermometers on the metro.

If only all public policy discussions involved dancers (and am I the only one who thinks it’s a missed opportunity that we don’t see Richard Bergeron, Luc Ferrandez and Peter McQueen prancing around a fake metro car?)

(via Projet Montréal on Twitter)

18 thoughts on “Tout l’monde transpire jusqu’aux orteils

  1. wkh

    They could just open the freaking vents in Guy Concordia.

    I’d even be happy if they’d just vent a few of the overly hot ones, GC being the absolute worst. Something is wrong when I’m sweating there in dead of winter while wearing a T SHIRT.

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  2. AlexH

    actually, I had a laugh the other day, looking at the plan for the Pie-IX bus lane… which will cost $305,000,000 to build. I did some fast math, and figured out that at 1600 buses in the montreal fleet, they could install the “incredibly expensive” AC units onto every bus in the fleet at about the same costs.

    What it made me wonder was this: Between the two, which would cause more people to take the bus? Would having a comfortable air temperature (and clean air at that) on the buses encourage more people than a bus lane?

    As for the metro, in the second year of not building expensive bus lanes, they could cool the entire metro system and have cash left over for lunch.

    Priorities.

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    1. Jim J.

      which would cause more people to take the bus? Would having a comfortable air temperature (and clean air at that) on the buses encourage more people than a bus lane?

      I would surmise that convenient, speedy, reliable, frequent and predictably on-time service would lure more people into taking the bus and metro more than air conditioning would. Air conditioning is useful for, what – maybe from mid-May through early September? Reliable service is a 12-month-a-year benefit.

      Priorities.

      Priorities, indeed. In my opinion, once you have established reliable and effective service that people can base their own schedules around without fear of, for example, waiting at a bus stop in January as three consecutive filled-to-capacity buses roll right by without stopping, then you should begin adding pleasant amenities.

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      1. AlexH

        Jim, it always comes back to the same thing: You are talking about things that are priorities for existing riders, not things that will shift people out of their cars and into a bus.

        Reliable service is a gimmie, something that should happen as part of the process naturally. If you aren’t increasing the number of people using public transit, it becomes more and more expensive per rider to offer more frequent service (more buses for the same people = more expense). The service isn’t going to be any more speedy on Pie-IX with the bus lane because the car traffic isn’t typically what is slowing down the service. It is the amount of time put into loading and unloading people, waiting for lights, etc. Admittedly, if they give the bus lane a priority of 10 seconds on the car traffic, they will be speedier relative to the cars, only because the cars have been slowed down.

        You will not sell public transit to a car user on the basis of 1 more bus an hour or 5 minutes off a 1 hour transit, especially not if the service is uncomfortable, cramped, sweaty, and smelly. If you want to increase public transit use, address the reasons people are still using their cars. Your points are all things that make existing transit users happier, not what changes people from one mode to another.

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        1. Jim J.

          You are talking about things that are priorities for existing riders, not things that will shift people out of their cars and into a bus.

          It just seems to me that we have a difference of opinion. In my opinion, people choose not to use the bus because it’s inconvenient for them to do so: i.e., the closest stop is too far from their home, or they have to take more than one bus route to get to a metro station, or they find the bus and/or metro too crowded, or that they’d have to leave their home at a stupidly early hour in order to make it to work on time. You disagree.

          You appear to believe that people choose not to take the bus & metro because it’s an unpleasant experience in terms of creature comforts. I disagree.

          The STM put that study out there that said A/C was rather far down on the list of priorities for existing users. And I recognize that limitation – it didn’t appear to query people who might use the system, but presently don’t. And then, of course, there are people who say they’d use the system if it were air conditioned, but there’s really no way of telling if they would actually use the system if it were air conditioned.

          (As a quick aside, that kind of survey question is highly subject to respondents’ cognitive biases in which those same respondents tend to overstate their propensity to engage in virtuous behaviour.)

          So, if I were to see a hypothetical survey of 100 non-transit users who say that they’ll stick in their air conditioned car, thankyouverymuch, because the STM doesn’t air condition its rolling stock, I am fairly skeptical that any significant percentage of them would magically convert into public transit users simply if the rolling stock was air conditioned, all else being equal (i.e., the convenience, frequency and reliability of service that I mentioned above all were to remain unchanged).

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          1. AlexH

            Jim with respect, I think that the points you raise are things that should be done correctly anyway. Buses should run at reasonable times. Routes should be oriented towards getting people where they are going. Things like that. By definition, public transit should work on a basic level without it being special. It should just go. We shouldn’t be celebrating that they manage to do the obvious (finally).

            I think that any of us who have ridden the metro of buses for years knows that the system is uncomfortably hot, even if you are dressed for summer. As PM mentions on their site, temperatures inside Guy-Concordia metro, even in the winter, are almost unbearable. Many stations are too warm, you walk into the station in winter clothes and you have to start stripping down just to not end up sweating to death. Go there in the summer, and you are likely to melt onto the platform.

            Ride a crowded bus on a sunny route, even in winter, and you will find yourself sweating like a pig. In the summer, it is almost unbearable, tolerated mostly by people who have no choice. This is key, you see, because people who have a car (and are willing to use it) have a choice. They key for public transit to sway them is to make public transit a better choice. But people who end up at the office looking like they spent 45 minutes in a sauna with their suit on are not likely to find the transit system to be a better choice. That doesn’t mean mangling the road system until driving a car downtown is impossible, but rather by raising the level of the product offering by the transit commission.

            Would AC or the like change the way people travel? Who knows. I can say without a doubt though that without it, there will always be a huge reason why people choose not to use the bus.

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          2. Jim J.

            Your point is well taken, but the problem is, whether you improve the system’s performance or you improve the individual rider’s experience, they both cost additional funding to implement.

            We just have a difference of opinion. In my opinion, if you’re going to spend more money in the system, the first dollars should be spent improving the network – frequency, reliability, etc. This opinion is predicated on the notion that I consider it far more likely that new users will be attracted to the system if you make it more accessible and convenient, than if you left the network unchanged and improved the comfort of the individual user’s experience.

            You just happen to have a different opinion as to where those first extra funds should be spent.

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    2. wkh

      I really don’t get the point of those bus lanes on PieIX. Especially since they still stop every other block or whatever anyway. It’s not like it’s a direct route from Laval to Sherbrooke Street.

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      1. Jim J.

        I suspect the reason for these lanes on Pie-IX is for the same reason that a metro line was proposed & somewhat extensively studied for essentially that same route in the 1980’s.

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        1. wkh

          Um, the metro is underground and not subject to traffic. Your point makes no sense at all. The sexy new centre road bus lanes will change nothing. Absolutely nothing.

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          1. Jim J.

            My point was, the reason for dedicated bus lanes on Pie-IX is because it is a major north-south artery on that part of the island; i.e., it’s a logical location for putting together some kind of major transit route.

            Or, to put it another way, if they had built that metro line there in the 1980’s, that would have obviated the need for bus lanes.

            I may have misinterpreted your original post. Perhaps you meant you don’t understand the means by which the bus lanes were implemented, rather than questioning the reason for their existence in the first place.

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  3. ProchaineStation

    Most buses number 28-XXX 29-XXX 30XXX have Air conditioning.

    But the STM disconnected them to save money of gas, maintenance and freon.

    Only a few people know this, not even the drivers.

    It’s kept from the public.

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  4. Maria Gatti

    Steve, has construction begun on the Pie-IX métro station? If the dedicated bus lane is so expensive, why don’t they build a tram along Pie-IX? Yes, I know trams are more expensive than bus routes, but they have a much larger carrying capacity. Northeastern Mtl is densely populated and many people take public transport.

    At least on the orange line, the problem is overcrowding since the extension to Laval. It is stifling even for commuters who board at Jarry or Jean-Talon heading south during the rush hour.

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  5. AlexH

    Update on this: It seems that the city council voted against having AC included in new metro cars that will be purchased one day in the future. An incredibly short sighted idea it seems.

    They have approved a test of AC on a few buses, particularly longer runs (guessing west island or maybe the airport express), putting that discussion off effectively for 1 or 2 more years as well.

    Keep on sweating, I’ll keep driving my comforable car. :)

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  6. Lisa

    I agree with Jim J, frequency and reliability would mean much more to me than air conditioning. If people would only open the windows, it would help a lot.
    I don’t own a car, but in my mind the main advantage to having one is not air conditioning, but that one can SIT DOWN,, and not have to stand up in crowded conditions for ages. Even if car drivers get stuck in traffic they are sitting down and not listening to some other passenger’s iPod …..which must be awfully loud if the sound is leaking out of the earphones.

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  7. Marc

    Most buses number 28-XXX 29-XXX 30XXX have Air conditioning.

    But the STM disconnected them to save money of gas, maintenance and freon.

    Only a few people know this, not even the drivers.

    It’s kept from the public.

    Not that much of a secret. Just have to look up at the roof unit which says Carrier TransiCold. Carrier, of course, being a manufacturer of commercial refrigeration units. Either it’s disconnected or the compressor isn’t present. Basaically it’s neutered AC.

    Reply

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