Last week, the STM launched two new seniors’ buses, bringing the total to 10. These routes, served using minibuses, take winding routes through neighbourhoods on select weekdays, stopping at residences, shopping centres, CLSCs and other places that would be of interest to seniors.
The plus side is that seniors get door-to-door service with a driver who isn’t rushed by rowdy schoolkids. The minus side is that the routes are slow and the schedule is atrocious: departures are more than an hour apart and service is only offered on some days of the week.
The STM started the seniors’ buses with two routes in the west end in 2006 – one in Côte des Neiges and the other in N.D.G. Both lasted about a year before they were canned due to lack of ridership. Still, they soon launched other buses, mostly on the eastern side of the island: Montreal North, St. Michel, Rosemont, Rivière des Prairies, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Mercier, Anjou, and one in LaSalle. Most follow the same idea, offering service between rush hours on two or three weekdays. And for some reason, the STM has deemed these successful enough to keep them around longer.
Now they’re coming back to the west side, going after an area that has a lot of seniors and not much public transit.
The 262 Côte St. Luc (PDF) starts in the area around the Cavendish Mall, then down Cavendish and Côte St. Luc Road until Westminster. From there it heads non-stop to the Carrefour Angrignon shopping mall (though not to the nearby metro station). It has four departures in each direction on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The 263 Bordeaux-Cartierville (PDF) passes through the residences near Acadie Blvd. on the east side of Highway 15, then goes along de Salaberry, O’Brien, Gouin and Laurentian, and non-stop to the Place Vertu shopping centre. Again, no stop at a metro station. The bus also has four departures in each direction, but on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The buses are designed and marketed for seniors but accept regular fare and passengers of any age (though this isn’t made abundantly clear and even some drivers have apparently been under the incorrect impression that it’s reserved for those over 65).
I’ve never been one one of these routes, and I don’t know what their ridership figures are like, but fortunately we’re only talking about a minibus or two for six hours two or three times a week, so the cost is fairly low for each route.
The STM could use a route like the 262, starting at Angrinon, and going along st Jacques to a station on the Orange line. Right now, the only way to make this route is to take the green line all the way to Lionel Groulx, and then coming back up. If you want to go from Angrinon shopping center to, say, Sherbrooke and Cavandish, it is a 5 minute car ride and maybe an hour on public transit.
The 262 has great potential for Cote Saint-Luc owing to our substantial senior population. Much consulattion with the senior’s groups took place to ensure the route was just what they wanted. The city is promoting this within the senior’s residences as well. The ability to enjoy greater mobility, particulalry during our long winters, will directly contribute to the quality of life of our residents.
Now all CSL has to do is open the Cavendish link to Ville St. Laurent and we’ll be all set.
CSL has been in favour of the Cavendish extension since 1998. The decision to procede on this project now lies with the Tremblay administration / City of Montreal.
Glenn, that isn’t exactly true. There are plenty of people in CSL (especially those near the north end of Cavendish) who have absolute no interest at all in having their street turned into a major alternate route to the Decarie or 13. There have been such wonderfully proposals as to have Cavendish turn east and dead end near Jean Talon instead, or even one proposal back many, many years ago to make a tunnel that was only 2.1 meters to stop trucks from using the road.
It’s only with the new development around the Cavendish Mall area that the mentality is shifting a bit, with people being more interested in being able to get in and out of the area than protecting the property values of a smaller group of people.
Alex what exactly is wrong with people wanting to protect their property values or limit traffic???? Unless you somehow feel that there should be absolutely no difference from one community to the next in Quebec. Or we should try to have everyone live exactly as their neighbor lives regardless of the kind of residential area we are talking about…
Btw that idea was already tried in the Soviet Union and it FAILED.
Actually Alex, it’s totally true. The City Council of CSL has been solidly behind the extension for the last 12 years. The extension connects CSL’s Cavendish to Pare/Jean-Talon and St-Laurent’s Cavendish to Royalmount. There is a connector between Royalmount and Pare. You can see a video simulation on my blog. Montreal now controls this project and it is on the books for 2018 but one never knows how Montreal will proceed on this as they’re the ones dragging their feet.
Given the limited number of runs, it would have been smarter to run 262 as a (during warmer) seasonal service. They should just chop the first three stops yesterday as that’s where CSL’s new indoor swimming pool is under construction until at least March and the stretch is piled up with fencing, construction trucks, and mud (and no seniors to pick up since the Griffin O’Connell residence there is now closed I think). I can’t envision the non-snowbirds that are left piling up at bus stops in and around Cavendish Mall (which is finally pretty much half-demolished and about to be flooded with even more construction vehicles for the next couple of years) freezing their collective arses off waiting for a ride to Angrignon.
The non-stop stretch to Angrignon that ends the route could be an interesting experiement and if only because it would be far more than seniors that would be tempted to use it.
I actually agree with Glenn J. Nashen about a mobility issue! He spends much of his blog time on dumping on cyclists, pity that. I guess seniors are cuddly for car-centred suburban town council members, as they can garner votes for them, while cyclists are odd beings in that we could be yet another market for those bloody cars.
(Actually, I’m not terribly too young to be a senior, but we will not rush things. And lots of urban-cycling activism left in the old girl yet).
Nashen needs these: http://www.amterdamize.com http://www.copenhagenize.com http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com
Just pleasant photos of urban cycling, in normal clothing!
Maria Gatti obviously confuses me with someone else or has never actually read my blog. I am the lead advocate for cycle paths and lanes in Cote Saint-Luc, have convinced the Council for the first time ever to invest in safe cycling programs and will be launching the CYCLE CSL route next Spring. I personally cycle regularly in the city, on the Lachine Canal and Le P’tit Train du Nord with my entire family. Finally, I continue to promote and lobby for mandatory helmet laws for cyclists, having introduced the first-ever municipal law of this sort in Canada.
Dear Mr Nashen, I’ve certainly read the posts pertaining to cycling on your blog, as have some other longstanding cycling activists (Le Monde à bicyclette got started in 1975, and I was there). In your last sentence you’ve solved the “confusion”, as you are behind a repressive policy at odds with the stance adopted by both Vélo Québec and Le MAB.
Mr Nashen, you will not, repeat, will not win over any friends in the cycling community pushing for such a rule. Same goes for mandatory helmets for downhill skiing and horseback riding.
I’m not looking to make new friends. I’m trying to create a safer environment for cyclists and skiers.
Then listen to cyclists’ associations and read our position papers. And travel to countries that have developed high modal shares of cycling and high levels of cyclist safety, in particular the Netherlands and Denmark.
Blanket mandatory helmet laws are a knee-jerk reaction. Freak accidents will always happen and all the helmets in the world won’t do a damn thing about that.
Marc – and no doubt Cote Saint-Luc will get it’s fair share of those “freak accidents” you refer to now that they’ve joined the road speed bump craze which I saw during my last couple of visits (mind you, not as bad as Hampstead. Yet.)
Thank you to Alex H. for pointing out the obvious hole in the STM service.
If you live near the Angrignon area and want to go to the Loyola area let’s say, you’re not served at all by public transit.
It’s true, if you have a car, it’s a five minute drive.
It’s also a nightmare for cyclists. Ever try cycling on Pullman expressway!
One day (maybe 2018) there will be better roads between lasalle and the St Jacques area, with St Jacques actually looking like it will go under the 20 and end up on the Lasalle side, which should help things. It looks like there may actually be some very reasonable road connections between the two points, and if housing is built in the middle (in the reclaimed areas where the 20 is now), it is likely there will be better bus service.
The train yards and the St Jacques bluffs have always been a pretty big barrier between the two sides, and the STM just never seemed to get the idea of running buses from Angrinon metro to the upper area. I think it violates some sort of basic concept of bus planning to have a bus move more than 300 yards without a stop. ;)