Posted in Montreal, Public transit

STM fares for 2011: Another hike

The STM is giving a bit more notice this year than last of its fare hikes, but that’s not going to make too many people happy about the news, since, of course, they’re going up again, along with other city taxes.

In addition to the usual incremental increases in all fares, the STM is adding a couple of new ones to encourage occasional transit users.

One is a simple two-for-one-and-five-sixths, offering two fares for $5.50 instead of $6 when bought together. The idea is that if you’re going somewhere by public transit, you’re probably coming back the same way, and it makes sense to encourage this, even if it’s only 50 cents off. (It also means if you buy two tickets at a time, you’ll pay the same price per ticket as you did in 2010.)

The second new fare is more interesting. Called “Soirée illimitée”, it permits unlimited travel after 6pm (it’s not clear how late this goes) for $4, which is only $1 more than a single-trip fare. A day pass, allowing unlimited travel for 24 hours from the point of purchase, will cost $8 on Jan. 1.

And, as previously announced, people who use the Longueuil metro station won’t be able to use their regular CAM passes as of Jan. 1. The deal with Laval means that the fare required for that station will increase gradually until it matches AMT Zone 3 rates. For now, the STM is selling what it calls the “CAM Longueuil” for $82, the price of a Zone 1 TRAM.

The tourist passes (allowing unlimited travel for 1 or 3 days) have gone up, but are still slightly below 2009 levels after the STM reduced them last year.

Here’s the table, compared to last year:

Regular Reduced
Monthly CAM $72.75 ($70+ 3.9%) $41 ($38.75 + 5.8%)
CAM Longueuil $82 $49
Weekly CAM $22 ($20.50 + 2.5%) $12.75 ($11.50 + 10.9%)
Three-day tourist pass $16 ($14 + 14.3%) N/A
One-day tourist pass $8 ($7 + 14.3%) N/A
Evening pass (after 6pm) $4 N/A
10 trips (Opus card only) $22.50 ($2.25/trip, $21 + 7.1%) $13 ($1.30/trip, $12 + 8.3%)
Six trips $14.25 ($2.38/trip, $13.25 + 7.5%) $8.50 ($1.42/trip, $7.50 + 13.3%)
Two trips $5.50 ($2.75/trip) $3.50 ($1.75/trip)
Single fare $3 ($2.75 + 9.1%) $2 ($1.75 + 14.3%)

And for fun, since all the media are doing it, here’s what the regular fares were in 2001, 10 years ago:

  • CAM: $48.50 (now 50% more)
  • CAM hebdo: $13.50 (now 63% more)
  • Six tickets: $8.50 (now 68% more)
  • Single fare: $2.00 (now 50% more)
  • Tourist (1 calendar day): $7 (now 14% more)
  • Tourist (three consecutive days): $14 (now 14% more)

You can read the full 2011 budget here (PDF).

UPDATE: Fee tables from the AMT, STL and RTL, mostly modest increases of a buck or two. Note that the RTL’s cash fare (which doesn’t allow transfers) will be $3.10 instead of $3.

41 thoughts on “STM fares for 2011: Another hike

  1. Clément Côté

    Since I don’t use the metro enough to have a monthly card, I just usually load up my Opus card with a bunch of single trips, bought in packages of 10 (the best deal for singles). If I load up my Opus card before the end of year with a bunch of singles, do you know if they’ll expire at some point?

    I remember the single coloured cardboard tickets would expire after a few months.

    Reply
  2. telso

    While I love the idea of this evening pass, the STM’s dumb implementation of their RFID transit card will again cause inefficiency (if you can only buy this ticket in paper form, without an OPUS, it just defeats the purpose of having a smart card).

    The way an intelligent system would work is that the card would store money. If I were to take one trip after 6 p.m., $2.25 would be deducted; if I took a second trip, $1.75 extra would be deducted (reaching the $4 cap), and then all other trips would be free for the evening.

    But since the cards store tickets/fares, and there are no fractional tickets, what’s going to happen is that I’m going to have to load either a (bunch of i.e. 10) $2.25 ticket(s) or a $4 evening pass before I even enter the system. This of course is bad if I’m not sure whether I’m only going to take one trip that night or more, which means if my plans change I may have to pay more than I otherwise should (maybe this is the point?). If I load both fare types on my card, the system won’t know which to deduct on my first trip, and may make the wrong choice even if I know exactly how many trips I’m taking beforehand and don’t change my mind; this means I may have to get a second OPUS card: one for tickets, one for evening passes, and mark each of them and make sure I don’t confuse them when fumbling for my cards while rushing for the bus/metro.

    Now it’s possible that they could implement a hack, whereby if you load both fare types on your card, on your first evening trip it would deduct a ticket, and on your second evening trip it would deduct your evening pass and give your original ticket back. This would solve all the problems with this particular type of fare interaction (except for having to put more money up front onto the card to buy both types of fares). Still, even though it requires less planning on the part of the customer than the methods I described above, it’s an ugly hack.

    I just got back from London, and though there are still some issues regarding things like National Rail, and because I’m thrifty I did take an alternate route to avoid passing into or through zone 1 (thereby saving ~£2), I never had to think about which fare to buy, whether with underground, overground, buses, tram, river service and national rail (run by many different companies); over any of 9 (sometimes 11) zones; during peak and off-peak periods; all with automatic top-up (charging credit card when balance is too low). It’s just amazing how inferior the design of Montreal’s ticketing system is.

    Reply
  3. W G, Gatineau

    I would like to buy single tickets or packs of six at locations other than at the metro stations, which is now the only place one can purchase individual tickets. The STM wants everybody to have opus cards, but let me ask you how you know how many tickets are still on your opus card? How do you give a single ticket on an opus card to your buddy from out of town? Sure, you can recharge an opus card at the pharmacy, but don’t try to buy a bus ticket there, nosirree, the STM hates this flavour of customer and just wants us to please go away and stop bothering them. Or maybe they will send their security goons to deal with the problem?

    Why does the STM hate me?

    Reply
  4. Singlestar

    “Called “Soirée illimitée”, it permits unlimited travel after 6pm (it’s not clear how late this goes) for $4,”

    One report I heard said: 5 a.m.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      “Called “Soirée illimitée”, it permits unlimited travel after 6pm (it’s not clear how late this goes) for $4,”

      One report I heard said: 5 a.m.

      That would make sense. It means people could come home on the night bus.

      Reply
  5. Stephane

    Another hike? This type of headline suggests surprise. I don’t see anyone writing “Island car owners: another hit for transit”. If car owners now have to shoulder a new transit tax it’s the least transit users should expect (not to mention many users will be hit with both increases) including off island commuters.

    Reply
  6. AlexH

    Transit fares (even after this hike) are still unrealistically low. a monthly pass at 72.75 / 30 days is still $2.45 per day, or $1.225 cents each way to travel. That is an insanely low price considering the actual costs of service. It means that the current cost for a user who makes 1 “aller retour” a day over the 30 day month is paying less than the cost of 2 tickets purchased 10 years ago (as a 6 pack – $8.50 / 6 = $1.42 per ticket, $2.84 round trip).

    Fares need to continue to increase until the system makes it much closer to breaking even. Adding 1.8% ridership but losing more money is a horrible business model. The Quebec and Municipal governments are putting about half a billion dollars in to keep transit running each year, and that number continues to grow (and it appears to be growing faster than the increase in ridership or the increase in transit costs to users). All the nice budget presentations in the world (award winning… what a great thing for a transit company to be known for) won’t change the reality: We have way more public transit than we can afford.

    At some point, the entire system needs to be redone from the ground up. The current levels of bus service in particular are way to expensive, and need to be looked at. I don’t think anyone really has the guts to take on the monster that public transit has become.

    Reply
  7. Fassero

    Aislin should have a great cartoon idea – Joe Citizen hung upside down by gangsters getting all the cash shaken out of his pockets. One leg would be shaken by an official in an STM jacket; the other by Tremblay waving a property tax bill.

    Thank goodness those evil car drivers are getting the extra $45 a year shakedown. Can you imagine the STM increase without that?!?! :D

    Reply
  8. Apple IIGS

    So, these STM transit price hikes are now an annual thing. That alone bugs me, but the biggest issue is we are continually forced to pay MORE for LESS.

    EACH AND EVERY YEAR I hear bold promises that the number of buses on the road will go up, wait times will drop, drivers will be on time and the frequency of the metro trains will increase. What happens in reality? Buses are constantly late (sometimes by 20-30 minutes!), bus drivers skip routes altogether, we’re still left waiting up to 15 minutes for metros outside rush hour, CONSTANT service interruptions/break downs in the metro, rude staff, refusal to speak English, non functional Opus card readers, screwed up tickets, etc, etc.

    What they consider improved services are adding useless LCD TV’s in stations that show ads, $16,000 bus shelter that look “sharp” (yet still as dysfunctional as the old ones), stupid TV advertising. Meanwhile it’s as uncomfortable as all hell without air conditioning in buses and subways, it’s dirty and disgusting throughout the system (ever heard of cleaning staff?), way past overcrowded on most bus routes (ever take the 105?), drivers are rude, nothing runs on time, bus and subways that are NEVER synchronized, everything is just unreliable.

    I also hate the OPUS cards. If I put tickets on it, how am I supposed to know how many are left?? Do they expect me to put a little Stick-It note on the back, and cross off a ticket with a pen or pencil each time I use it? I don’t even trust it, I believe if you use it as a transfer, it’ll deduct another ticket. How do you even dispute that? Come on, I should be able to walk up to a terminal and quickly swipe it to see how many tickets are left, or just type in my OPUS card number online to check it’s status. I hate the STM with a passion.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      EACH AND EVERY YEAR I hear bold promises that the number of buses on the road will go up, wait times will drop, drivers will be on time and the frequency of the metro trains will increase.

      In the STM’s defence, each and every year bus service has been increased, and metro wait times outside of rush hour went down pretty dramatically. The only time there’s a 15-minute wait is for the last train of the night.

      As for service interruptions, I’m not sure what you expect them to do. Things break down (especially when they’re 40 years old and constantly in service), people hold doors open, people throw themselves in front of moving trains. Interruptions may seem “constant” to you, but they’re rare enough that I don’t think of them when planning my commute.

      And you may think the stations are uncleaned, but I’m pretty sure you’d notice quick enough what would happen if they stopped cleaning the stations for a couple of weeks.

      If I put tickets on it, how am I supposed to know how many are left?

      This is one of my complaints as well, but there are two ways to tell: 1. Put the card into the Opus machine. It’ll tell you what’s on it. 2. When you use the card to pay a fare, the readout tells you how many tickets are left.

      I believe if you use it as a transfer, it’ll deduct another ticket.

      It shouldn’t, but you can tell whether it is or not by reading the readout. It’ll either tell you it accepts the transfer or that it’s deducted another ticket.

      Reply
      1. AlexH

        The increase in bus service is interesting, because it appears to be where the STM loses the most money. Adding more buses seems to be a significant part of what sinks their budget. Just adding more product (and the expenses that go with it) just keeping making the situation worse.

        It’s why it is high time to start the process over and redo every bus route in the city, and to look at service levels and so on. As taxpayers and / or fare payers, we cannot continue to fund runaway spending blindly, even if it gives us “what we want”. At some point, the piggy banks (tax payers) can no longer afford to pay for the comparatively free ride.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          It’s why it is high time to start the process over and redo every bus route in the city, and to look at service levels and so on. As taxpayers and / or fare payers, we cannot continue to fund runaway spending blindly, even if it gives us “what we want”.

          What makes you think there’s “runaway spending”, or that bus routes need to be all redone?

          Another thing to keep in mind is that the Quebec government has promised to subsantially increase public transit funding for those agencies who have boosted ridership by eight per cent. With its increases in bus and metro service, the STM is on track to meet that goal by the deadline.

          Reply
          1. AlexH

            The problem is that to get the 1.8% increase in ridership, they increased their expenses by more than that. Adding more and more service when you are losing money isn’t going to suddenly make you profitable or stem the tide, it just spends more money. When cost increases to provide service are large than the increases in users, you have a problem. To get to magic 8% number you mention, on current course, the costs will go up 20-25% (based on the last couple of budgets).

            The “redo the routes” means literally going back to the very root of the network, and looking at the logic and how things are done. Fix some of the basics, look for alternatives. Example, should there only be 1 or 2 express bus lines that go from the end of the metro to “hubs” in the west island, and have those routes only run in the west island? Is it economically more feasible to extend the metro towards the west (or add train service) rather than running so many buses?

            The whole deal needs to be looked at from the bottom up with the goal of more ridership and more practicality.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              When cost increases to provide service are large than the increases in users, you have a problem.

              If increases in transit service required equal increases in ridership, there would never be service outside of rush hour.

              Example, should there only be 1 or 2 express bus lines that go from the end of the metro to “hubs” in the west island

              Right now there are three: The 211 on the south side, the 268 on the north side, and the 470 in the middle. I believe they’re planning to add another next year. They’ve also made a large increase in service on the highly popular 470 route. If they were to add another express line, where would it go?

              Is it economically more feasible to extend the metro towards the west (or add train service) rather than running so many buses?

              Extending the metro to the West Island is definitely not economically feasible, mainly because there’s a giant dead zone in the way (the airport, the Taschereau train yard and the Bois de Liesse, depending on which line you’d want to extend). The AMT wants to add train service, but is limited on the Vaudreuil line by how much track time they can get from CP, and on the Deux Montagnes line by the need to share a single track between Bois Franc and Roxboro-Pierrefonds stations during rush hour. They’re both problems the AMT wants to solve within the next few years.

              The whole deal needs to be looked at from the bottom up with the goal of more ridership and more practicality.

              You imply the current system is arranged in such a way that is inefficient and has poor ridership. I’m willing to believe there is room for improvement, but I find it hard to believe that the system would see substantial increases in ridership and “practicality” if the bus routes were just rearranged somewhat.

              Reply
      2. Marc

        In the STM’s defence, each and every year bus service has been increased, and metro wait times outside of rush hour went down pretty dramatically. The only time there’s a 15-minute wait is for the last train of the night.

        While they have improved metro wait times, they’re still unaccaptable. I waited 8 minutes for a green line train on a Friday night at 9:30. I guess there’s nothing interesting to do downtown on a Friday night? In Toronto, the maximum wait time on the subway is 6 minutes. That’s how it should be here, too.

        Reply
    2. Anonymous

      it’s dirty and disgusting throughout the system (ever heard of cleaning staff?)

      Having travelled around North America quite a bit, I’d say that the vast majority of Montreal’s metro stations are better than average in terms of cleanliness, compared to the stations in many other cities.

      Are they the cleanest? Probably not. See Washington, D.C.’s metro stations – the underground ones are pretty spotless (although they are also poorly lit and cavernous).

      Are they the dirtiest? No. See pretty much any NYC station and Chicago’s underground stations. ‘Nuff said. For that matter, Toronto’s stations aren’t exactly spotless, either.

      For that matter, taking into account that most of the rolling stock is now in the neighbourhood of 40+ years, it’s reasonably clean, also – in my opinion.

      Reply
    3. Jack

      You pretty much cannot increase metro frequency during rush hour when the majority of people use it, at least on the orange line. There, wait time is down to about 2 minutes average which means there is one train for every station in each direction. In fact, there are so many trains on the tracks that the slightest delay in turning around at Cote Vertu causes a traffic jam.
      Buses are good to very good depending on the line, e.g. line 535 has an interval of about 3 minutes during rush hour, running solely with articulated buses.

      I think the STM’s system is quite decent.

      Reply
      1. Fassero

        I think you make a very good comment there. The STM, overall, IS a decent service. I do think it’s more of a case of riders getting more fussier (5-10 days of crazy heat a year so we should buy air conditioning for the entire fleet?) and car drivers getting more snobbish about public transit.

        That being said, I also agree with AlexH when he talks about the way the STM is going to invest obscene (and uncoverable) amounts of money to hit this ridership target and trigger more provincial funding.

        The STM, like pubic transit authorities in piles of cities across the continent, needs an overhaul of priorities. It’s all fine and dandy that we’re now hearing dangling carrots like improved service to the west island and more express service but are these for real or just PR gimmicks aimed and calming the outrage over the big increase in fares for 2011 plus the fresh shakedown on car drivers when they renew their licenses? I think there’s a trust issue also going on. Attracting more riders is noble but we’re talking the same transit authority that got a big spike in users when gas prices skyrocketed just after Hurricane Katrina and turned that opportunity into announcing price increases because it cost them more to service all the riders (including their own fuel costs.)

        To me, the STM needs to do a couple of things immediately: 1) they need to start thinking about complementing cars instead of thinking they are the “better’ competitor. Expanding a metro service into Dollard is not going to do anything. Having more….heaven forbid…..parking spaces at Metro stops where there is more than ample room to add it does (I say this even more so for the STCUM but that’s another story.)

        And, for goodness sake, it’s long overdue to treat public transit (or at least the metro for starters) like a toll system where you pay by distance rather than flat fare. Putting all that cash into new stations in Laval then letting that city hold Montreal hostage on contributions was, and is, absurd. And, by the way, I have no problem doing the same with autoroutes and any new regional highways. All transport networks should be self-supporting from their users. Period.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          parking spaces at Metro stops where there is more than ample room to add it

          Where is this, exactly? Aside from two of the three Laval stations, where there is already a huge amount of parking, and the area around the Namur metro station, where there is already a huge parking lot, and the area around the Longueuil metro station, where there is a series of huge parking lots, and some eastern green-line stations, where is there room to add parking near metro stations?

          It’s all fine and dandy that we’re now hearing dangling carrots like improved service to the west island and more express service but are these for real or just PR gimmicks

          The 470 bus to the West Island didn’t exist a few years ago. Its wild popularity since its launch has led it to be extended to day service, evening service, weekend service, weekend evening service and late-night service faster than any other bus route I can recall. It’s not cheap to add dozens – or hundreds – of departures on a 45-minute bus route where there were none before. But the expense is justified in the increase in West Islanders taking this bus, which means either more people using public transit or their trips becoming shorter.

          I don’t think I’d qualify that as a “PR gimmick”

          Reply
          1. alex h

            “Where is this, exactly? Aside from two of the three Laval stations, where there is already a huge amount of parking, and the area around the Namur metro station, where there is already a huge parking lot, and the area around the Longueuil metro station, where there is a series of huge parking lots, and some eastern green-line stations, where is there room to add parking near metro stations?”

            Perhaps the point is that in considering expansion for the Metro, that it shouldn’t always be aimed at landing in the middle of congested areas. Remember, if you want to get people to stop taking their cars downtown, you have to make it easy and convenient for them to do so. It doesn’t happen when the areas around the Laval Metro stations are overflowing with cars (because nobody seemed to consider people might drive to the metro), or places like Deux Montagnes, where the AMT parking there is often full by 7AM.

            Two solutions include remote parking with shuttle bus service (dedicated to only this task) to make is possible to park in these areas, or to consider extentions to the metro system that would create stations in currently empty areas. That means getting the metro access points on the blue and green lines (at both ends) to be outside of the “core” of the system. If your end points are too far inside the core, there is little reason for people to use the metro instead of their car.

            A good example would be extending the green line at the west towards Lachine. Getting the metro out maybe as far as 55th ave and highway 20 area would present an interesting and desirable option for travelers to consider, because it would be something like 20-25 minutes by metro to downtown, or maybe 1 hour in traffic. Right now, Angrinon is too far east of the real congestion, people who have made it to that point on the 20 can see downtown and can get there in 10 minutes. Why would they want to switch to the metro? It is one of the main reasons that the Laval extension is such a plus, it puts the speedy and consistent metro access point on the other side of the major traffic jam, making the metro a good option compared to a car. That is how you create ridership.

            If you have parking overall for 10,000 extra cars per day, in theory that means 10,000 less cars in town, 10,000 less cars on the roads.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              consider extentions to the metro system that would create stations in currently empty areas.

              You want to spend billions of dollars building metro lines to nowhere?

              Besides, as you point out with your examples, any parking lot will eventually be over capacity (Montmorency’s is only three years old and its capacity problems have existed almost since then). Commuter trains are better for reaching distant suburbs with low density. And they have larger parking lots (which are now overflowing themselves).

              I see your point about getting around traffic bottlenecks, and I don’t think extending the green line into LaSalle is such a bad idea in the long term, but the focus should be on extensions into the most dense areas first, and taking some stress off the most congested bus lines. And that’s in the northeast.

              Reply
          2. Fassero

            I think I made it more than clear that the parking point is more of an issue for the STCUM. That being said, to call Namur a “huge” parking lot is laughable to say the least. In fact, I doubt the actual lot has spaces for more than 70 cars and motorists, most of whom come down from Saint-Laurent and off the 40/15 interchange because stations like Du College, Cote Vertu and de la Savane have no parking at all, are pretty much forced into rolling the dice (read: try to avoid parking tickets) with street parking on Des Jockeys and two nearby service roads plus the retail lots of the adjacent strip malls. In fact, there’s been a stellar opportunity to greatly expand parking there short-term by leasing the piles of parking at the site of the now-abandoned Hippodrome (which is now blocked off by giant concrete pillars) but, again, heaven forbid the STM actually comes up with something cheap and practical instead of expensive and anybody’s guess. They could also look into covered or underground parking which could be built near a number of stations which would certainly be attractive for attracting riders who might want to part-commute by car, especially in winter. The costs could easily be recouped through (heaven forbid again) an arrangement with private sector lot operators or assuming the operation and charging (and, yes, a lot of people would happily pay.)

            Maybe you need to head to, for instance, Toronto and take a look at the parking lot sizes at stations like Finch, Wilson Heights or Kipling to get a good idea as to what constitutes a “huge” parking lot.

            Your argument about the 470 “success” (although I think even you had some misgivings about how effective a service it was when you wrote about it after it opened) is just more of a justification for metro service out there. Frankly though, I think a far smarter idea would be to complete the orange line as a full circular service (i.e. link Montmercy to Cote Vertu) and, from there, establish express bus services directly to the line as a whole from places like Dollard/Kirkland and the various areas east of St. Michel. This would provide a very good alternative to the pressure of having direct service by bus from the west island to the city and, especially, the over-volume of north-south service from the west island to the STCUM stations that run parallel to the 20 (and which truly have near non-existent parking.)

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              I think you mean “AMT” and not “STCUM” here. The STCUM became the STM in 2002.

              If I had any misgivings about the 470 bus route, it was the fact that it took so long to start it and that its service wasn’t sufficient at the beginning. With seven-day service now it’s an obvious success.

              That said, there’s a far cry between a successful express route and a successful metro extension. The 470, though successful, doesn’t have nearly the kind of traffic that the 67 or 139 (or their associated express buses) have. And because the 470 passes through a giant dead zone (between the airport and the Bois de Liesse, through the industrial sectors of St. Laurent, Dorval, Dollard-des-Ormeaux and Pointe-Claire), that’s a lot of wasted tunnel-building – at a cost of billions of dollars – that could be used elsewhere.

              Reply
  9. Apple IIGS

    Um, you DO realize that the Blue line extends well past the Snowdon metro station, with a finished tunnel and tracks reaching all the way to Hampstead. All that’s required is building a few stations (and it’s quite doable to extend it a bit further into NDG and beyond, which would benefit those heavily populated residential areas).

    From a logical standpoint, extending the Blue line east makes no sense. It just parallels the Green line that already runs into the east end. It is a redundancy. So why is logic being ignored? Simple: Quebec has its own special logic. The west end is mostly English speakers (so called “Anglos”) and the government and STM go out of their way to not support Les Autres. They’re not part of the Quebec landscape, so why should any tax money be wasted on Les Autres?

    As far as the STM being decent, I suppose some people have never experienced public transport in other cities in the world.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Um, you DO realize that the Blue line extends well past the Snowdon metro station, with a finished tunnel and tracks reaching all the way to Hampstead.

      The blue line does not “extend well past” Snowdon any more than the orange line extends past Côte-Vertu, or the green line extends past Angrignon. The tracks that head toward Hampstead are tail tracks that permit trains to switch directions. Because trains are long, and because the tracks at Snowdon are not level, this requires tracks that keep going for a few blocks.

      “Building a few stations” isn’t a trivial operation – particularly if you’re going to do it in Hampstead where you’re likely to get opposition from the local government. And in order for it to work, you’d need to build additional tail tracks to allow trains to switch.

      These tracks aren’t some secret conspiracy the government is trying to keep quiet because it doesn’t like anglos. They serve a purpose and are currently in use.

      As for the east side of the blue line, it’s still four kilometres from the green line. If you think four kilometres is so close there’s no point in bothering, then you should know that a four-kilometre radius from Côte Ste. Catherine, Snowdon, Villa-Maria and Vendome covers all of Hampstead and most of NDG.

      Extending the blue line east makes sense because it goes into a heavily dense area, and because Pie-IX Blvd. is one of the STM’s five highest-trafficked axes for buses.

      There’s plenty of politics that goes with high-budget projects like metro extensions, but to paint an extension into Hampstead as logically preferable to an extension into St. Michel makes no sense.

      Reply
    2. Clément

      While I believe it’s healthy to have a debate about whether or not our regional governments provide decent services to the West Island, I believe we should leave politics out of that debate and focus on the service itself.

      A lot has been said in other posts about the absence of secret tunnels, the 470 and other express buses and parking lots and so forth.

      I just want to point out if you only look at the train service provided by the AMT to West Island, you will see that:
      - Train service is far more frequent on the Vaudreuil and the Deux-Montagnes lines than on the other lines, including trains in the daytime, the evenings and weekends.
      - Train lines are more direct and convenient (just look at the path taken around the mountain by the St-Jérôme line, just because the AMT won’t use hybrid locomotives).
      - Service was available on these two lines long (loooooong) before service was offered on the other lines. Wasn’t the Deux-Montagnes line established in the 1920s?
      - fare $/km is far more competitive on these two lines (at least for the segments inside the island).

      My 2 cents. I don’t pretend that the above proves or disproves anything about overall service to the West Island, but one must consider all the services offered.

      Reply
      1. alex h

        The Two Mountains line is the ultimate proof that the AMT isn’t interested in converting car drivers to train riders. This is a suburban area with very limited public transport (SURF), dominated by single family homes and open spaces. The train station at Two Mountains has only enough parking for maybe 1000 cars, and that is all taken very early in the morning.

        The trains themselves are full. Often by the time the trains reach in town stops (like the Montpelier station on Cote Vertu) it is impossible for any additional riders to board.

        If the intention is to stop people from driving their cars into the city, these are the key people to look at (along with those coming from the South Shore). The Two Mountains line should be extended 1 stop further, with significant parking areas created to accept the cars of people who need them to reach home at the end of their trips. More trains should run, there is demand. If they create parking for 3,000 – 5,000 cars, they could change the dynamic.

        The same issue exists with the Metro in Laval. A lack of parking for suburbanites who are not going to wait for a bus to get to the metro (and relatively poor bus service) means that people who would drive their cars to the metro and go from there instead drive over the bridges and crowd the city. Again, take a few thousand of those cars off the roads and out of the downtown core would make a huge difference.

        You cannot change downtown congestion with an expensive tramway, in town bus lines, or by blocking streets with bike paths. The question is always to look where the people come from, and address their needs. The issue? Mayor Tremblay doesn’t control the burbs, and can’t seem to trick them into over paying for additional service. Little is being done to address the larger issues.

        Again, the whole transit system needs to be re-examined from end to end, for every bus route, every train station, and all the logic that goes with it. Right now it is just a huge failure.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Right now it is just a huge failure.

          You say yourself only a few paragraphs before that off-island train and metro stations are overflowing with thousands of parked cars from people taking public transit into work.

          To me this is a sign of success. Surely more so than if the parking lots were empty.

          Reply
          1. alex h

            Actually, it isn’t a success, because they are not meeting the demand. Sort of like Decarie Hot Dog, with only a few seats, it isn’t hard to be overflowing.

            If the mayor’s objective is to get cars off the road, he needs to address where the cars come from. Two Mountains is a great example. If the parking is overflowing, add 1000 more spaces and see what happens. If 1000 more cars show up, that is exactly 1000 less cars in town. That would be a success, and they wouldn’t have to spend hundreds of millions to do it. Instead of charging the burbs for transit, he should be paying them to increase their capacity, so they can keep the cars out of the city, not in.

            The Laval metro is the same thing. Work to create more parking in the area of the stations. Heck, work to create overflow parking with dedicated (and free) shuttle buses to go from the parking to the metro (like at the airport). Make it EASY to park the car and take the metro in town, and the choices become easy.

            It is an abject failure when the people in charge are unable to see things that are working. Instead, we get expensive bus lanes (which doesn’t change much in the way of traffic), tramways (which are just replacing buses, also not going to change traffic), and restrictive roadways (guaranteed to create more traffic). I think it is easy to see what is working and what is failing, way back where the sources of the cars are.

            Reply
        2. Alex T.

          >>This is a suburban area with very limited public transport (SURF)

          You’ve obviously never been on other suburban transit (CIT) systems around Montreal. SURF’s service is great when compared to other places like Chambly, Repentigny, Candiac, etc…

          Reply
  10. Jim J.

    They’re not part of the Quebec landscape, so why should any tax money be wasted on Les Autres?

    Holy cow. It’s Jean Naimard’s mirror universe twin!

    As an aside, I so enjoy people who spout conspiracy theories. It’s so incredibly entertaining to watch them cherry-pick the obscure and insignificant facts that support their case and ignore the big, giant, in-your-face obvious facts that debunk it.

    Reply
  11. Clément

    Amidst all these comments about the fare hikes, it helps to take a few steps back for perspective.

    The Montréal fares may seem high, but consider the following:
    - The fares are much lower (a minimum of $10/month in most places and usually much more) than in most other major cities in North America, including larger and smaller ones. $121 in Toronto, $81 in Vancouver, $91.50 in Ottawa, $81.50 in Edmonton, $85.25 in Calgary, $89 in NYC, $86 in Chicago, $73.50 in Québec city and Montréal: $70! All these rates are before the Jan 1st rate hike.
    - Some places have similar or lower fares, cities like Sherbrooke, Saskatoon, Halifax, Regina, Winnipeg. But then again, have you used public transit in Regina?
    - When comparing with the above cities, keep in mind that in Montréal, we have a really good metro network, with many stations (more than any other Canadian city), 5 train lines (6 soon), modern buses, reserved bus lanes, express buses, etc.

    So all in all, I don’t think things are that bad here. Of course, there is room for improvement, but I think we have a pretty decent service here, especially when you compare the whole picture.

    Reply
  12. John Bower

    As someone who just moved to Montréal, I chose to live next door to the Longueuil metro station and bought an Opus à l’année card from the STM website – where there was NOT a single mention of the future fare hike. What I find absured is that people travelling from Longueuil in two years will pay the same price as those in Laval which is slightly farther away from the downtown core. I ride the metro to go to work, shop, play etc… but when the fare reaches 120$ per month in 2012, it might be cheaper for me to start using my car again.

    I have no problem paying my fair share, but I’m really left scratching my head why a metro line that is about 5-km in length is going to cost the same as someone travelling from la rive nord of the island? If the hike is being used to fund expansion of the service to la rive sud, then I’m all for it. If it’s to make cosmetic changes to the metro station in Longueuil, then the STM should blow it out their pipe.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      people travelling from Longueuil in two years will pay the same price as those in Laval which is slightly farther away from the downtown core

      Blame Laval. It’s Laval’s mayor that blackmailed the transit authorities to force Longueuil transit users to pay more.

      In any case, the STM doesn’t consider distance when setting fares. It’s the same for a two-kilometre metro trip as it is from one end of the island to the other. But since the Longueuil metro station isn’t in the area covered by the STM, it makes sense for it to charge more.

      A price of $120 a month might seem expensive, but with all expenses considered it doesn’t come close to the price of driving into the city.

      Reply
  13. Marisol Perry

    They’re not part of the Quebec landscape, so why should any tax money be wasted on Les Autres? Holy cow. It’s Jean Naimard’s mirror universe twin! As an aside, I so enjoy people who spout conspiracy theories. It’s so incredibly entertaining to watch them cherry-pick the obscure and insignificant facts that support their case and ignore the big, giant, in-your-face obvious facts that debunk it.

    Reply
  14. Apple IIGS

    I have a pet peeve about the fares for the Laval metro stations.

    WHY can’t I purchase a 2, 6 or 10 ticket trips for the Laval subway, like in Montreal? There is no discount offered, you have to buy tickets individually for $3.00 a piece. What’s absurd is the Laval Metro is a part of the Montreal subway system and run by the STM, but still follows different rules.

    I use the Laval subway once per week to visit family. Not enough to buy a full-cost monthly pass, but enough where I’d like to buy several tickets at once and get a discount. Nope, not available. Anyone know if this will ever change? It really sucks, especially with the latest round of price hikes for single fares. :(

    Reply
  15. H.B.

    Re: increase in STM bus service: I am a regular user of the 51 bus westbound – from St. Laurent/St. Joseph to the Elmhurst terminus – usually between 8:30 and 10 pm. Over the last 5 years, service has increased from one bus ever 11-12 minutes to one every 6-8 minutes. This is overkill – I rarely encounter standing room except between the Snowdon metro and around Cavendish/Fielding (a 10-minute distance out of the 35-45 minute entire route). Why not leave the whole route at its original 11-12 minute headway, and put on extra buses at Snowdon?

    Reply

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