Category Archives: Public transit

Are the STM’s fare hikes unreasonable?

Last week, the STM released details of its 2013 budget, and naturally everyone focused on fare hikes (see PDF chart). The numbers showed that most fares would go up by a buck or two, just like they have every year for the past decade. And Montreal’s opposition parties came out with their usual predictable denunciations of the hikes, as did regular transit users who complained as they always do that service isn’t being improved enough to justify the hikes.

As you can see from the chart below, fares have definitely gone up over the past five years, and while small fares (single trips, tourist passes) have been in line with the consumer price index or even below it, the bigger and more popular fares, like the monthly adult pass, have gone up by twice as much as other consumer goods and services.

But at the same time, it would be wrong to say that there haven’t been significant service improvements in that time. Since 2010 alone, there’s been the 10 minutes max network, new seniors’ shuttles, a major overhaul of the night bus network, new express buses to the West Island, and a reduction in wait times for the metro just before and just after rush hours.

Tens of thousands of hours a year of bus service have been added, buses themselves are being replaced to the point where the number of buses from before 2000 is now negligible. New metro trains are being designed and built. And various technologies are being put into place to ensure that people are given information that allows them to get to their destination the fastest way possible.

The STM calculates that, overall, its level of service has gone up by 25% since 2007. That outpaces the increase in the price of a monthly adult pass for the same period.

These improvements aren’t cheap. In general, increases in amount of service outpace increases in additional ridership (and, I assume, fare revenue) by a factor of two to one. This is unsurprising, and in fact it’s the goal set by the government, a goal the STM has surpassed in its review of PASTEC. But it means that we need to pay more.

And most people are actually okay with that. They don’t mind paying more if it means getting better service. Montreal’s transit system is still among the cheapest in North America, certainly when you look at the amount of service it delivers.

Whether the STM is delivering enough added service to justify the price increases is something I’ll leave to you to decide.

Fare progression chart

Here’s a chart showing the STM’s fares over the past five years, and you can compare to the consumer price index for those years at the bottom:

(UPDATE: The STM has cut its fare hikes. An updated chart is here.)

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Change 2008-2013
Monthly CAM (regular) $66.25 (+1.9%) $68.50 (+3.4%) $70 (+2.2%) $72.75 (+3.9%) $75.50 (+3.8%) $77.75 (+3.0%) +17.4%
Monthly CAM (reduced) $36 (+2.9%) $37 (+2.8%) $38.75 (+4.7%) $41 (+5.8%) $43.75 (+6.7%) $45.50 (+1.0%) +26.4%
Four-month CAM (reduced fare only) N/A N/A $148 ($37/month) $155 ($38.75/month) (+4.7%) $164 ($41/month) (+5.8%) $175 ($43.75/month)(+6.7%) +18.2% (2010-13)
Weekly CAM (regular) $19.25 (+1.3%) $20 (+3.9%) $20.50 (+2.5%) $22 (+2.5%) $23.50 (+6.8%) $24.25 (+3.2%) +26.0%
Weekly CAM (reduced) $11 (+2.3%) $11.25 (+2.3%) $11.50 (+2.2%) $12.75 (+10.9%) $13.75 (+7.8%) $14.50 (+5.5%) +31.8%
Three-day tourist pass $17 (unchanged) $17 (unchanged) $14
(-17.6%)
$16 (+14.3%) $16 (unchanged) $18 (+12.5%) +5.9%
One-day tourist pass
(Also used as 747 fare)
$9 (unchanged) $9 (unchanged) $7 (-22.2%) $8 (+14.3%) $8 (unchanged) $9 (+12.5%) None
Evening pass (after 6pm) N/A N/A N/A $4 $4 (unchanged) $4 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
10 trips (Opus card only) (regular) N/A $20 $21 ($2.10/trip) (+5%) $22.50 ($2.25/trip) (+7.1%) $24 ($2.40/trip) (+6.7%) $25 (+4.2%) +25% (2009-13)
10 trips (Opus card only) (reduced) N/A $10.75 ($1.08/trip) $12 ($1.20/trip) (+11.6%) $13 ($1.30/trip) (+8.3%) $14 ($1.40/trip) (+7.7%) $15 (+7.1%) +39.5% (2009-13)
Two trips (regular) N/A N/A N/A $5.50 ($2.75/trip) $5.50 (unchanged) $5.50 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
Two trips (reduced) N/A N/A N/A $3.50 ($1.75/trip) $3.50 (unchanged) $3.50 (unchanged) None (2011-13)
Single fare (regular) $2.75 (unchanged) $2.75 (unchanged) $2.75 (unchanged) $3 (+9.1%) $3 (unchanged) $3 (unchanged) +9.1%
Single fare (reduced) $1.75 (unchanged) $1.75 (unchanged) $1.75 (unchanged) $2 (+14.3%) $2 (unchanged) $2 (unchanged) +14.3%
Consumer price index for Montreal 2.1% 1.0% 1.4% 2.8% 1.8% (projected) N/A +10.9% (projected)

Other changes

Among other things announced in the budget:

  • An unlimited weekend pass, for $12, offering unlimited trips from 6pm Friday to 5am Monday.
  • The same hours apply to the Family Outings program, so an adult with up to five children under 12 can travel together on an unlimited number of trips for $12 on weekends as of 6pm on Fridays.
  • Expansion of its Occasionelle disposable smart-card to all retailers selling transit passes
  • Removal of the place of residence requirement for student passes. Students 18-25 who live off-island will no longer be excluded from access to reduced-fare Opus cards and the reduced fares that come with it.

In addition, the Agence métropolitaine de transport is setting up a parking lot at Saint-Martin Blvd. and Pie-IX Blvd. (Route 125) in Laval, which will be served by the STM’s 139 bus on Pie-IX. This will be the first time in decades that an STM bus route is being expanded into another transit agency’s territory. Normally it is the external transit agency (the STL or RTL) or the AMT that manages bus service between territories.

No word has been given on whether that bus would be subject to regular STM fares or something similar to the Laval metro stations. The STM informs me that, in fact, the fares for the 139 buses in Laval will be the same as for the Laval metro stations, and those going to and coming from Laval will be marked as 139X.

 

STM’s Michel Labrecque looks into the future

STM chairperson Michel Labrecque

Michel Labrecque, who chairs the board of the STM (and ostensibly represents its users on that board, though try to find some way to reach him on the STM’s website), did a little live Q&A on the STM’s website on June 14. He got asked some interesting questions and gave some interesting answers.

I’ve summarized a few interesting bits he said below, mainly about stuff that’s happening down the line (2014 looks to be a pretty busy year for them):

  • Replacement of the other half of the metro fleet (the MR-73 trains that run on the blue and orange lines) is set to begin at the end of the decade. The first set of new cars to replace the older MR-63s are to arrive in 2014.
  • Labrecque isn’t very interested in the idea of maritime shuttles to the south shore. Too impractical, he says.
  • Studies are in progress to determine the placement of stations on an eastern extension of the blue line, but it will follow Jean-Talon St. until the Galeries d’Anjou.
  • On an eventual rapid transit system on Pie-IX Blvd. (starting in 2014), boarding of buses will happen on all three doors for people with passes, as is done in other cities. The STM is studying using such a system on other high-traffic routes as well.
  • As automated machines handle more duties previously done by metro booth employees, they will be doing more duties of a customer service nature and be more in contact with users.
  • Real-time bus data is expected to start working in 2014.
  • The orange line could have as many as 40 work sites operating in the four hours a night the metro is not in service, doing repairs and maintenance.

Analysis: STM’s new West Island express buses

On Friday, the STM finally gave details about its four new West Island express buses set to launch April 2, just over a week from now.

They were designed partly as a way to mitigate the coming traffic disaster that is the Turcot Interchange rebuilding, and partly to convince more West Islanders to start using public transit during rush hour.

As a West Island boy myself, and someone who commuted downtown for five years, I’m very familiar with the transit service there and understand the frustrations of people who live in that part of the island and work in the city. I had been waiting for years for a bus like the 470 Express Pierrefonds – a direct shuttle bus between the Fairview bus terminal and the Côte-Vertu metro station – and was very unsurprised when it turned into a huge hit with riders, quickly expanding from a rush-hour-only route to one that operates all day, seven days a week.

The Planibus schedules of the new routes are online. The 475 is here (PDF) and the rest are packaged together here (PDF). None of the buses run past 7pm or on weekends. But as we saw with the 470, if there is a lot of interest in these lines, the STM will eventually extend their service.

Here’s an idea of what each of the four new routes is like, and my feelings about them:

405 Express Bord-du-Lac

Route: From the MacDonald terminus near John Abbott College to Lionel-Groulx metro station. The route is virtually identical to the 211, so much so that I wonder what the point of it is. The only difference is that it takes Highway 20 non-stop from St. Charles Blvd. (it doesn’t stop at the Beaconsfield train station) to Dorval, except for a stop at St. Jean.

Schedule: Departures about every 20 minutes from 6am to 7pm in both directions.

Target clientele: People who live along Lakeshore/Beaconsfield west of St. Charles who find the 211 too slow.

Bottom line: The 211 is already an express bus east of Dorval, and it already has an express doubler in the 411 (formerly 221). The part of the 405 east of St. Charles is virtually identical to the 411, and the part west is identical to the 211. I have a hard time figuring out what this route offers that isn’t already available on the 211 or 411.

425 Express Anse-à-l’Orme

Route: From the Anse-à-l’Orme/Timberlea terminus down Chemin Sainte-Marie and Beaconsfield’s Sherbrooke St. to the Beaconsfield train station. East of Beaconsfield Blvd. and St. Charles, the route is identical to the 211, including the deviation through Carson St. in Dorval.

Schedule: Departures 20-30 minutes apart, eastbound from 5:40am to noon, westbound from noon to 7pm.

Target clientele: People who live in Kirkland and Beaconsfield between the two highways, in an area right now served only by the 217.

Bottom line: Because the 217 doesn’t go anywhere besides Fairview, this route should be a welcome addition for people who live near Chemin Sainte-Marie and Sherbrooke in Kirkland and Beaconsfield. But I don’t get the detour through Carson in Dorval, especially for an express bus (I don’t get why it’s done for the 211 either).

475 Express Dollard-des-Ormeaux

Route: From the Dollard Civic Centre near Lake and de Salaberry (where parking is being made available to commuters), along Highway 40 to the Côte Vertu metro station (south entrance, where West Island buses used to stop and Laval buses do now). The entire trip is 23 minutes.

Schedule: Every 15 minutes exactly from 6am to 9am eastbound and from 3:30pm to 6:30pm westbound.

Target clientele: People with cars who live in Dollard des Ormeaux near Sources Blvd.

Bottom line: Commuters who live east of St. Jean, and particularly near Sources, have had to either double back to Fairview to take the 470, or take buses like the 206, 208 or 209 or 214 and transfer at Roxboro or Dorval. An express network hasn’t really been built with them in mind. This new bus might prove to be more popular than the STM imagines, leading to a 470-like quick expansion (the schedule is rather disappointing, especially considering the service on the other new routes announced). But while the 470 stops at a major terminus, the only other bus serving the Dollard civic centre is the 208. Let’s hope the STM thought to put stops at Sources so there are transfer points with the 209 and 214.

485 Express Antoine Faucon

Route: From the new extension of Pierrefonds Blvd. past Château-Pierrefonds, via Antoine Faucon, St. Charles, Brunswick, de Salaberry, St. Jean (with a stop at Fairview), then non-stop along Highway 20 (except a stop at the Dorval terminus) until Lionel-Groulx.

Schedule: Varying from 10 to 30 minutes apart, from 5:30am to 7pm eastbound, and 6am to 7pm westbound. During the height of rush hour, only half the buses do the route west of Fairview.

Target clientele: People who live in western Pierrefonds but aren’t walking distance from the 470 on Pierrefonds Blvd. and/or who prefer a bus to a metro station closer to downtown.

Bottom line: The interesting part of this route isn’t the part west of Fairview, since the route is almost identical to that of the 218, but rather the fact that it’s the first time that the Fairview terminus is connected directly to a downtown metro station. Having often taken a 202/211 trip to Lionel-Groulx in the days before the 470, I can understand the benefit of this to people who work downtown. I could see this becoming very popular for that part (just like many people take the 470 only from Fairview to Côte-Vertu), which might encourage more people to take public transit and take some pressure off the 470 and 211/411. For people along the existing 218 route, and along St. Jean between the highways, this provides a transfer-less way downtown.

Reserved lanes

New routes are great, but of course they’re useless if everyone taking the buses just gets stuck in the same rush-hour traffic as everyone else. To mitigate that, reserved bus lanes are being installed:

  • St. Jean, from Pierrefonds to Highway 40: Buses and multiple-occupant vehicles (2+). Southbound in the morning and northbound in the afternoon. To be done this summer.
  • Pierrefonds, from Jacques Bizard to St. Jean: Buses and taxis only. Eastbound during the morning only. To be done this fall or spring 2013.
  • Highway 20, from 55th Ave. to 1st Ave.: Buses only. 24/7 in both directions. To be done this fall or spring 2013.

In addition, there’s existing reserved lanes on St. Patrick and Notre-Dame which will allow the buses serving Lionel-Groulx to avoid Highway 20 traffic east of 1st Ave.

The STM also says Lionel-Groulx will have a new terminus, that will accommodate these three new routes and make things easier (and maybe less confusing) for transit users.

Fagstein’s 2011-12 guide to holiday transit

As I have in previous years, I ask that you have some sympathy for the bus, metro or train driver, station attendant or other employee who has to work during the holidays – some on Christmas morning, some through midnight on New Year’s Eve – just so that you can get you from point A to point B in the dark, wet, snowy mess that is the last week of the year.

Here’s what there is to expect as far as schedule changes this weekend and next:

STM (Montreal, including the entire metro)

Details from the STM’s website. For details on adapted transit or customer service, consult their page.

Note that from Dec. 24 to Jan. 8, the STM offers its Family Outings plan, which allows an adult to bring up to five children under 12 to ride for free with a fare-paying adult. (Normally this is allowed only during weekends and statutory holidays.) This does not apply to the 747 bus.

  • Saturday, Dec. 24:
    • Buses and metro service will follow a regular Saturday schedule.
  • Sunday, Dec. 25:
    • Most bus routes will run on a Sunday schedule.
    • Metro trains will pass about every 10-12 minutes on the green line and every 10 minutes on the other lines.
  • Monday, Dec. 26:
    • Most bus routes will run on a special schedule.
    • Metro service will run on a special schedule, with additional trains added to the Orange and Green lines from 8:30am to 7pm to accommodate rabid Boxing Day shoppers.
    • Monday to Friday shared taxi service will not be in operation.
  • Dec. 27-30: Normal weekday schedules for all services.
  • Saturday, Dec. 31:
    • Buses, metro and taxi service will follow a regular Saturday schedule.
    • Once again, there’s no extension of metro service despite how many people are out celebrating New Year’s Eve, but because it happens to be on a Saturday people get a half-hour more than usual. Last trains of the night leave the two blue line terminuses at 12:15am, in all five directions from Berri at 1:30am and from Longueuil at 1:30am.
  • Sunday, Jan. 1:
    • Bus routes will follow Sunday schedules for the most part.
    • Metro trains will pass about every 10-12 minutes on the green line and every 10 minutes on the other lines.
  • Monday, Jan. 2:
    • Bus routes and metro trains will follow a special schedule.

Note that Opus cards can be recharged at any point after Dec. 20.

STL (Laval)

As usual, the STL offers free transit on its buses on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

  • Saturday, Dec. 24: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Sunday, Dec. 25:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes.
    • The following will only have service from 11am to 9pm: 12, 20, 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, 37, 39, 40, 45, 46, 58, 61, 63, 65, 66, 74, 144, 804 and 903.
    • All other routes will have full regular Sunday service.
  • Monday, Dec. 26: Saturday schedules in effect for all routes.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular weekday schedules for all routes.
  • Saturday, Dec. 31: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Sunday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes.
    • The following will only have service from 11am to 9pm: 12, 20, 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, 37, 39, 40, 45, 46, 58, 61, 63, 65, 66, 74, 144, 804 and 903.
    • All other routes will have full regular Sunday service.
  • Monday, Jan 2: Saturday schedule for all routes.

RTL (Longueuil)

Like the STL, the RTL is offering free service for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and is asking for donations in lieu of fares.

From their PDF guide:

  • Saturday, Dec. 24 (free service): Saturday schedule for all routes
  • Sunday, Dec. 25: Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Monday, Dec. 26:
    • Saturday schedules for most routes.
    • Saturday schedule with additional departures on lines 8, 35, 45, 80.
    • Weekday schedule for taxi lines T22 and T89.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular weekday service for all routes
  • Saturday, Dec. 31 (free service): Saturday schedule for all routes
  • Sunday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Monday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday schedules for most routes.
    • Saturday schedule with additional departures on lines 8, 35, 45, 80.

AMT (commuter trains)

The AMT offers free trips on the two lines that operate on Christmas and New Year’s – Dorion/Rigaud and Deux-Montagnes.

From their website:

  • Saturday, Dec. 24: Regular Saturday service on all lines
  • Sunday, Dec. 25:
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Dorion (all trips are free)
  • Monday, Dec. 26:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Dorion
    • No service on other lines
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Saturday, Dec. 31: Regular Saturday service on all lines
  • Sunday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Dorion (all trips are free)
  • Monday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Dorion
    • No service on other lines

Customer service at the AMT will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Transit fares for 2012

It’s that time of year again, when the STM releases its fare schedule for the next year and the entire city grumbles about it.

The STM’s press release (sent on Friday, which made Métro’s Mathias Marchal wonder if it was trying to get hidden in news coverage) talks about all the additional service it provides in exchange for this modest increase, and they’re not making it up – there have been significant increases in transit service over the past few years. But for most users, that increase isn’t enough – buses and metro trains are still packed during rush hour, and still don’t seem to come often enough outside of it.

No more six tickets or CAM Longueuil

Two fares disappear completely from the grid for 2012. One is the CAM Longueuil, a compromise set up for 2011 that allowed users of the Longueuil metro station to transition from a regular STM fare to a Zone 3 fare.

People who use the Longueuil metro station (but who don’t use the RTL network) will go from paying $82 a month ($49 reduced fare) to $117 a month ($70 reduced fare, $93.50 intermediate fare). This represents a 43% increase, or a whopping 91% increase for students 18-25.

The other item gone from the fare table is the six-trip package. Originally designed to be a single disposable magnetic card that could be used six times, the STM quickly started giving out six individual tickets when it noticed that careless users would discard their ticket after one use.

There is still the 10-ticket package available, but that requires an Opus card. This means that people who don’t want an Opus card (say, tourists) must buy tickets two at a time or use the “Carte occasionnelle” one-day or three-day tourist pass.

Fare progression chart

Here’s a chart showing the STM’s fares over the past five years:

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Change 2007-2012
Monthly CAM (regular) $65 $66.25 (+1.9%) $68.50 (+3.4%) $70 (+2.2%) $72.75 (+3.9%) $75.50 (+3.8%) +16%
Monthly CAM (reduced) $35 $36 (+2.9%) $37 (+2.8%) $38.75 (+4.7%) $41 (+5.8%) $43.75 (+6.7%) +25%
Four-month CAM (reduced fare only) N/A N/A N/A $148 ($37/month) $155 ($38.75/month) (+4.7%) $164 ($41/month) (+5.8%) +10.8% (2010-12)
Weekly CAM (regular) $19 $19.25 (+1.3%) $20 (+3.9%) $20.50 (+2.5%) $22 (+2.5%) $23.50 (+6.8%) +24%
Weekly CAM (reduced) $10.75 $11 (+2.3%) $11.25 (+2.3%) $11.50 (+2.2%) $12.75 (+10.9%) $13.75 (+7.8%) +28%
Three-day tourist pass $17 $17 (unchanged) $17 (unchanged) $14
(-17.6%)
$16 (+14.3%) $16 (unchanged) -6%
One-day tourist pass
(Also used as 747 fare)
$9 $9 (unchanged) $9 (unchanged) $7
(-22.2%)
$8 (+14.3%) $8 (unchanged) -11%
Evening pass (after 6pm) N/A N/A N/A N/A $4 $4 (unchanged) None (2011-12)
10 trips (Opus card only) (regular) N/A N/A $20 $21 ($2.10/trip) (+5%) $22.50 ($2.25/trip) (+7.1%) $24 ($2.40/trip) (+6.7%) +20% (2009-12)
10 trips (Opus card only) (reduced) N/A N/A $10.75 ($1.08/trip) $12 ($1.20/trip) (+11.6%) $13 ($1.30/trip) (+8.3%) $14 ($1.40/trip) (+7.7%) +30% (2009-12)
Six trips (regular) $11.75 ($1.96/trip) $12 ($2/trip) (+2.1%) $12.75 ($2.13/trip)(+6.3%) $13.25 ($2.21/trip) (+3.9%) $14.25 ($2.38/trip) (+7.5%) Discontinued +21% (2007-11)
Six trips (reduced) $6.25 ($1.04/trip) $6.50 ($1.08/trip) (+4%) $6.75 ($1.13/trip) (+3.8%) $7.50 ($1.25/trip) (+11.1%) $8.50 ($1.42/trip) (+13.3%) Discontinued +36% (2007-11)
Two trips (regular) N/A N/A N/A N/A $5.50 ($2.75/trip) $5.50 (unchanged) None (2011-12)
Two trips (reduced) N/A N/A N/A N/A $3.50 ($1.75/trip) $3.50 (unchanged) None (2011-12)
Single fare (regular) $2.75 $2.75 (unchanged) $2.75 (unchanged) $2.75 (unchanged) $3 (+9.1%) $3 (unchanged) +9.1%
Single fare (reduced) $1.75 $1.75 (unchanged) $1.75 (unchanged) $1.75 (unchanged) $2 (+14.3%) $2 (unchanged) +14.3%

I’ll leave it to you to decide if these increases are too much in the short or long term.

UPDATE: Here’s some progression tables for Montreal’s other transit agencies:

AMT

I value my sanity, so I won’t do the entire fare table. I’ll limit this table to the most popular fare, the TRAM fare, for each zone. (Zone 8 doesn’t have any train stations, but does have some bus service). The full 2012 fare table is here (PDF).

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Change
2007-2012
TRAM Zone 1 $74.50 $77 $79.50 $81 $82 $84.50 +13%
TRAM Zone 2 $87 $90 $93 $94.50 $96 $99 +14%
TRAM Zone 3 $103 $105 $109 $111 $113 $117 +14%
TRAM Zone 4 $113 $115 $119 $121 $123 $127 +12%
TRAM Zone 5 $131 $133 $138 $140 $142 $147 +12%
TRAM Zone 6 $156 $159 $165 $168 $171 $177 +13%
TRAM Zone 7 $182 $185 $191 $194 $197 $203 +12%
TRAM Zone 8 $207 $211 $218 $222 $225 $232 +12%

The AMT says it will also maintain the “discount” allowing people using the Hudson train station, which is in Zone 6, to use a Zone 5 pass. This policy has been in place since Hudson (and Rigaud) were moved from Zone 5 to Zone 6 on Jan. 1, 2005.

STL

Slight hikes in all categories, including an increase in the cash fare from $2.80 to $3, which is equal to the STM cash fare and the cash fare to enter the Laval metro stations. It also brings it back up to the level it was in 2007. The fare was reduced in 2008 to encourage more people to use transit.

The full list of fares is here.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Change
2007-2012
Single fare $3 $2.50 $2.60 $2.75 $2.80 $3 Unchanged
8 tickets (regular) $21 (8x$2.63) $18 (8x$2.25) $18.50 (8x$2.31) $18.75 (8x$2.34) $19 (8x$2.38) $19.50 (8x$2.44) -7%
8 tickets (reduced) $12.25 (8x$1.53) $12.50 (8x$1.56) $13 (8x$1.56) $13.25 (8x$1.66) $13.50 (8x$1.69) $13.75 (8x$1.72) +12%
Monthly pass (regular) $72.50 $74 $76.50 $78 $79 $81.50 +12%
Monthly pass (intermediate) $58 $59 $61 $62.50 $63 $65 +12%
Monthly pass (reduced) $43 $44.50 $46 $47 $47.50 $49 +14%

RTL

The full fare table for 2012 is here.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Change
2007-2012
Single fare $3.25 $3.25 $3* $3 $3.10 $3.20 -1.5%*
Single fare (reduced) $1.90 $2 N/A N/A N/A N/A Fare eliminated in 2009
6 trips (regular) $15 (6x$2.50) $15.50 (6x$2.58) $16.10 (6x$2.68) $16.50 (6x$2.75) $16.75 (6x$2.79) $17 (6x$2.83) +12%
6 trips (reduced) $8.85 (6x$1.48) $9.25 (6x$1.54) $9.60 (6x$1.6) $10 (6x$1.67) $10 (6x$1.67) $10.25 (6x$1.71) +16%
Monthly pass (regular) $73 $76 $79 $81 $82.50 $84.50 +16%
Monthly pass (reduced) $42 $45 $47 $48.50 $49.50 $50.50 +20%
Four months (reduced) N/A N/A N/A $194 $194 $198 +2%
(2010-12)

*In 2009, the RTL eliminated transfers and reduced single fares. (All other fares moved to electronic cards.) As of then, cash fares no longer allowed transfers, hence the reduction in price.

STM to renumber bus routes in January

The STM’s fall bus schedule starts next Monday (Labour Day). The Planibus schedules are on its website, as are various press releases touting improvements to service.

But the biggest change to come out of this won’t take effect on Sept. 6. Instead, the STM is giving advance notice that 26 of its routes will be changing numbers in January, when the winter schedule takes effect.

The change, according to an internal publication that was posted to the metrodemontreal.com forum, is to make things easier for users to understand, by having the number indicate the type of bus route. Express and reserved-lane buses will be numbered 4XX, where XX matches the last two digits of the associated all-day route on the same axis. The 221, for example, is being renumbered 411, so people will see it as the express version of the 211. The 182, an express bus to Pointe aux Trembles, becomes the 486, or the express version of the 186.

The changes will also carve out a spot for seniors’ shuttles, which have awkwardly been given numbers mixed in with West Island routes. (The 261 is a West Island route, but the 260 and 262 are both seniors’ shuttles.)

Roughly speaking, here’s how the numbering system works now:

  • 1-9: Reserved for metro lines
  • 10-199: Regular bus routes
  • 200-299: West Island bus routes (and seniors’ shuttles)
  • 300-349: Unused
  • 350-399: Night bus routes
  • 400-499: Express (limited-stop) routes
  • 500-599: Reserved-lane routes (545 is used for special shuttles)
  • 600-699: Unused
  • 700-799: Special routes (so far only 747 is used, for the airport shuttle)
  • 800-899: Unused
  • 900-999: Unused

In January, the system will be reworked so it becomes more like this:

  • 1-9: Reserved for metro lines
  • 10-199: Regular bus routes
  • 200-249: West Island bus routes
  • 250-299: Seniors’ shuttles
  • 300-349: Unused
  • 350-399: Night bus routes
  • 400-499: Express, Metrobus, Trainbus and reserved-lane service
  • 500-599: Unused
  • 600-699: Unused
  • 700-799: Special routes (particularly those marketed to tourists)
  • 800-899: Unused
  • 900-999: Unused

Bus routes being reassigned into the 400 range:

Current route New number Matching route*
77 Cégep Marie-Victorin 444 44 Armand Bombardier
120 Lachine/LaSalle 495 195 Sherbrooke/Notre-Dame
143 Métrobus Charleroi 440 140 Fleury
148 Métrobus Maurice-Duplessis 448 48 Perras
159 Métrobus Henri-Bourassa 469 69 Gouin
173 Métrobus Victoria 496 196 Parc Industriel Lachine
182 Métrobus Sherbrooke 486 186 Sherbrooke Est
184 Métrobus Bout-de-l’Île 487 187 René-Lévesque
190 Métrobus Lachine 491 191 Broadway/Provost
194 Métrobus Rivière-des-Prairies 449 ???
199 Métrobus Lacordaire 432 32 Lacordaire
210 John Abbott 419 219 Chemin Sainte-Marie
214 Des Sources 409 209 Des Sources
221 Métrobus Lionel-Groulx 411 211 Bord-du-Lac
261 Trainbus Saint-Charles 401 201 Saint-Jean/Saint-Charles
265 Trainbus Île Bizard 407 207 Jacques-Bizard
268 Trainbus Pierrefonds 468 68 Pierrefonds
505 R-Bus Pie-IX 439 139 Pie-IX
506 R-Bus Newman 406 106 Newman
535 R-Bus Du Parc/Côte des Neiges 435 None

* Some of these are best guesses. There is no official list.

There are a few other changes as well. Three buses are being added to the 7xx range:

  • 167 Casino becomes 777 Casino (get it? Triple-sevens?) (No word on its alternate routes toward the Casino and beach)
  • 169 Île Ronde becomes 767 La Ronde (supposedly in reference to Expo 67)
  • 515 Vieux-Port/Vieux-Montréal becomes 715

As well, some routes are changing numbers so they fit in better with this scheme:

  • 132 Viau becomes 136 Viau, so there can be an express bus at 436 (the 432 is being used for the Lacordaire express, matching 32). a rapid bus transit system is being conceived along Viau.
  • 251 Sainte-Anne becomes 212 Sainte-Anne so the 250+ block can be reserved for seniors’ shuttles. The 251 is a special minibus that carries regular passengers through the narrow streets of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. The number it takes used to belong to the 212 Lakeshore, which was a rush-hour double of the 211 that took Lakeshore Rd. all the way to Dorval Ave.
  • 480 Pointe-Nord/Île des Soeurs becomes 178, presumably because they will no longer consider this route an express bus

As the 132 case shows, this new system of numbering has a simple flaw: There are more than 100 regular bus routes, which means there isn’t enough space in the 4xx range to accommodate them all. We’re adding 20 to the eight existing routes, which means a quarter of the numbers are already taken.

Plus, a lot of these 400-series express routes aren’t exact matches to the regular ones, which could confuse users. And then there’s the cost of replacing hundreds of bus stop signs.

Still, it’s not necessarily such a bad idea. It makes it easier to see at a glance whether a bus is a local or express bus, and giving reserved-lane buses their own category makes less sense now that we’re adding reserved bus lanes all over the island.

But some of these numbers have historical significance. The 210 has a special place in John Abbott lore. The 167 and 169 are no doubt on a lot of tourist information, and the 132, 182 and 184 have existed for many years.

But I guess people will just get used to it.

More evening service on three routes beginning Sept. 5/6

There are some changes, though most are minor, that are taking effect now. They are:

  • 77 Cégep Marie-Victorin gets 5 new departures northbound and 5 new departures southbound added to the end of its day, extending its service from 3pm to 7pm northbound and from 6:15pm to 9:45pm southbound. This represents an increase of 1,000 hours a year to this route, according to an STM press release. The route remains a school-day-only route.
  • 173 Métrobus Victoria gets evening service, now going to 10pm instead of 7pm in each direction. Nine new departures eastbound, with service about every 20 minutes during that span. Westbound, service during rush hour drops to every 15-20 minutes from every 10-15, so the total number of departures actually only goes up by one. Still, the STM says these changes will add 2,800 hours of service a year.
  • 194 Métrobus Rivière des Prairies gets evening service, running until 10pm weekdays instead of 7pm, in both directions. Six new departures in each direction will add 4,000 hours of service a year to the line, the STM says. It remains Monday-to-Friday only.

West Island routes to synchronize with trains

The STM has announced additional departures for West Island buses serving the Roxboro-Pierrefonds and Sunnybrooke train stations, so they are better synchronized with trains to and from Montreal during rush hour. As far as I can tell, these are not reflected in the posted schedules for these buses. Changes that are marked are noted below:

  • 205 Gouin gets two new departures eastbound – one in the morning and one in the early afternoon – so wait times are reduced. It gets a single new departure westbound at exactly 6pm (other departures remain unchanged), five minutes after the 5:25pm train from Central Station arrives. The STM says departures are being synchronized with the train, but if that’s the case it hasn’t been reflected in the fall schedule yet.
  • 206 Roger-Pilon gets three new departures eastbound in the morning rush-hour, and the times synchronize well with the Deux Montagnes train inbound, with buses arriving 5-10 minutes before the scheduled departure. Those taking this bus for the 9:12am departure are screwed though, as it comes in the middle of a bizarre 48-minute gap in service (otherwise it’s about every 20 minutes). Those people will have to take a bus that leaves Fairview at 8:04am (16 minutes earlier than the one they’d currently take) and wait about 45 minutes at the station.
  • 208 Brunswick gets two new departures westbound in the afternoon rush-hour and three new departures eastbound in the morning rush-hour. They don’t appear to be properly synchronized with train departures and arrivals.
  • 209 Des Sources gets three new departures southbound before 8:30am, dramatically reducing time between departures in the morning rush from about 30 minutes to about 15. Northbound schedule is identical. The route remains Mondays to Fridays only.

Major changes to seniors’ shuttles

Route changes, more stops and additional departures are some of the changes for seniors’ shuttles, which are minibuses that take zigzag routes to serve residences, shopping centres and other points of interest a senior might choose to go to.

  • 252 Navette Or Montréal-Nord will serve Place Bourassa and the local Wal-Mart with stops in their parking lots, reducing the distance seniors will have to walk. Otherwise the route is unchanged. (Press release)
  • 254 Navette Or Rosemont gets a major route change, so much so that it’s barely recognizable. Now instead of a circular route with service in one direction, it’s a linear route with two. Gone is service to the Viau metro station, the borough office on Iberville and the mall (and other stops) on Jean-Talon. Added are the CLSC Rosemont, Loblaws and Angus Square on Rachel St., and the Galeries d’Anjou. The number of departures also goes down, from 10 departures in one direction to eight departures in two (four in each direction). Departures are now two hours apart instead of about 45 minutes, though it will mean less of having to go round in an hour-long circle to get from Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital to Beaubien and Lacordaire. (Press release)
  • 256 Navette Or LaSalle has its route made a bit more complex, adding stops. It will also see an additional departure – westbound at 3:30pm – and the schedule changes a bit. (Press release)
  • 257 Navette Or Rivière des Prairies sees a route change, adding stops along Maurice Duplessis, and cutting the detour that takes it to the CLSC. It adds one departure eastbound at 3:35pm, making four in each direction. The departures are also a bit less predictable, no longer exactly two hours apart and leaving each terminus on the hour. (Note someone screwed up the Planibus, marking eastbound as westbound and vice-versa, and referring to its terminuses as Angrignon Blvd. and Jean-Milot St., which are the end points of the 256) (Press release)

Also of note

The Villa-Maria metro station reopens Tuesday.

STM takes down its totem pole

A new bus stop sign design was shown off with a new shelter design

Last fall, the STM showed off – with great fanfare – a prototype for a brand new bus stop shelter, which it installed on René-Lévesque Blvd. near Jeanne-Mance St. Installed along with it, a few feet away, was a prototype for a new bus stop sign pole, as seen above in this photo I took last week.

Cool, I thought, but as hip as it looked, it also meant losing a lot of information, such as what metro/train stops a bus will go to, whether it’s a rush-hour-only bus or express bus or night bus, and the bus stop code. All this information was moved to a panel lower down that has schedules and other info.

More importantly, I thought, it’s going to be more complicated to add routes to this totem pole, and you can’t indicate detours or disruptions in service like you can by slipping one of those temporary bus stop covers over the traditional signs.

With the new night bus network taking effect on Monday, adding four new routes to this stop (and the deletion of this leg of the 515 bus, which also took effect Monday), I passed by on Sunday to see if they had updated the totem pole.

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AMT acted quickly, but they can do more

A train bridge just west of the Mercier Bridge is being used more as the Mercier undergoes repairs

I can be a bit critical of transit agencies when they fail, so it’s only fair that I point out when they do something right.

Hours after the Quebec ministry of transport ordered the older of two spans of the Mercier Bridge be closed, the AMT announced that, starting Thursday (a day and a half after the closure), they would add three departures in each direction to the Montreal-Candiac commuter train line, effectively boosting its service by 50%.

The Candiac line, the youngest and least frequent of the AMT’s five commuter train lines, uses a railway bridge just west of the Mercier Bridge (Wikipedia tells me it’s called the Saint-Laurent Railway Bridge) between LaSalle and Kahnawake, and is unaffected by the Mercier’s closing.

The three new departures are inbound at 6:35, 8:25 and 10:30 am (the latter is notably the only train between 9am and 1pm), and outbound at 9:35am (the only outbound train before noon), 3:55pm and 5:55pm. You can see a schedule with these new departures here (PDF).

The AMT has also promised to increase parking by hundreds of spaces at the Candiac, Saint-Constant and Sainte-Catherine stations.

Now, if I were to be really cynical, I’d point out that of these six added departures, only one actually helps with the problem directly. The newer span of the Mercier Bridge is being open inbound between midnight and noon and outbound between noon and midnight, so that rush-hour traffic can still pass through. The problem is for off-peak traffic – those who go to the South Shore in the morning or to Montreal in the afternoon or evening. Only the 9:35am departure from Lucien L’Allier station will travel in a direction that car traffic is prohibited from taking. And that train is obviously useless for anyone who has to work at 9am.

The 1:20pm inbound train from Candiac is also an alternative at a time when it’s needed. That departure existed before. Unfortunately, there are no inbound departures after that for people who work anything close to a regular 9-to-5 shift on the South Shore.

On weekends, when traffic is only one lane in each direction, the Candiac line doesn’t run, so it’s useless. As far as commuters are concerned, that third span is just as dead as the first between Friday evening and Monday morning.

I commend the AMT for acting quickly to add train service during a stressful time for commuters. I hope it will be enough to entice some people to use public transit more often. But some more thought should be given to those who don’t fit the cliché of the South Shore commuter. People who live on the island and work day jobs in Kahnawake, Châteauguay, Candiac and other places nearby are getting screwed, and the train isn’t helping them much.

UPDATE (June 20): The Parti Québécois seems to agree with me.

STM’s night bus overhaul increases service by 73%

On Wednesday morning, the STM convened the media to announce its overhaul of the night bus network, the biggest changes to the night service in more than a decade.

STM's new night bus network (click to enlarge)

There are a lot of changes here, and they’re summarized below, but the major themes are these:

  • Three new routes (353, 354, 376), all of which existed before – and along similar routes – long ago when night service first began in Montreal. The 353 serves the northeast end of the island, while the other two are express buses to the West Island.
  • All routes now operate seven nights a week. No more Friday/Saturday-night-only routes.
  • With few exceptions, the maximum wait time between buses is reduced to 45 minutes from an hour.
  • The other two West Island routes take dramatic turns halfway through their routes to serve a north-south axis: the 356 along Sources and the 382 along Saint-Jean and Saint-Charles. Before this change, there was no north-south link west of Décarie, which means if someone stayed until 2am at a bar in Ste. Anne de Bellevue and wanted to go home to Pierrefonds, they’d have to take three night routes, including a stop at Atwater, getting home at 4:30am, if they were lucky.
  • Four routes are extended to serve the downtown core between Atwater and Frontenac, bringing the total to six. In addition to the 358 Sainte-Catherine and 360 des Pins (which was a Friday-Saturday route) are added the 350 Verdun/LaSalle, the 355 Pie-IX and the 364 Sherbrooke/Joseph-Renaud, all along René-Lévesque, and the 356 Lachine/Mtl-Trudeau/des Sources, which goes along Sherbrooke. This has two main benefits: People who take these routes to get home will require one less transfer, and there will be more night buses travelling through downtown, reducing waiting times for those who want to get to the major hubs of Atwater and Frontenac down to about 15 minutes.
  • Hochelaga-Maisonneuve gets night buses on more streets. Before there was just the 364 along Hochelaga and the 355 along Ontario and Ste. Catherine (depending on direction). Now, there are four buses on different streets: 364 on Sherbrooke, 362 on Hochelaga, 355 on Ontario (in both directions) and 353 on Ste. Catherine. All four connect with the Frontenac terminal.
  • The 378 Sauvé/Côte-Vertu is extended west to connect to the Trudeau airport terminal.
  • The 362 Hochelaga/Notre-Dame is extended west to Frontenac.

With the three new routes, the extension of three others from three to seven days a week, and the increase in frequency, the number of departures goes up pretty dramatically, from 1,368 to 2,009 per week, an increase of 47% (note that this is by my hand count, so it may be off by a few). This doesn’t count the nine routes whose length has been extended, in some cases dramatically. In terms of hours of service, the increase is probably more than 50% is from 46,000 to 80,000 hours a year, a 73% increase.

The STM calculates that 95% of the people in the Montreal agglomeration now live within one kilometre of a night bus stop. It also estimates that transfers will be reduced by 25%

All changes take effect the night of Monday, June 27, along with changes to day bus schedules. The STM has posted a cute little Flash app showing the various routes.

Why did it take so long?

These changes are a long time coming, and follow some serious public consultation. As a public transit user, it’s hard to be against a huge increase in service. My criticisms, laid out below, are minor compared to the praise for the new service. If anything, my biggest reaction is to ask why it took so long to make these changes, and why the routes we’re bringing back were removed in the first place. (I have the answer to the second question, unfortunately: Ill-advised budget cuts to public transit in the 90s).

As a regular night bus user, I can attest that the service is underused by casual users. There are a few reasons for this:

  • confusion – the routes don’t match day routes, and it’s not obvious which ones to take or how and where to transfer
  • wait time – in some cases up to an hour between buses, and long waits for transfers
  • lack of shelter – this is a problem particularly in winter, but there are few places where one can wait for a night bus indoors

Many people who don’t like what the night bus service offers use alternative forms of transportation. Many take cabs, which is expensive but very convenient (and relatively worry-free when you’re drunk). But many people also prefer to drive home from bars at night, which presents the very obvious risk of drunk driving (and an even higher risk of “buzzed” driving, from those who are convinced they’re just under the legal limit). I don’t know if increasing night bus service will have a major impact on drunk driving stats, but if even a handful of lives are saved because a few people took a night bus instead of driving after a long night at a bar, I’d say it’s worth it.

“It”, by the way, is about $4.4 million, according to STM chair Michel Labrecque.

A bus wrap advertising the new night network is one of the ways the STM is getting the word out.

The new network will come with an advertising campaign to inform riders, which includes wrapped buses, social media, and a campaign organized with Labatt.

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STM’s in my lane

I went to a press conference on Tuesday that the STM organized to announce a new reserved bus lane being installed on St. Joseph Blvd. There were a few dozen people there, though most seemed to be employees of the city or the STM, as evidenced by their clapping after speeches.

There were a few journalists present, though they seemed more interested in Plateau Mayor Luc Ferrandez’s attendance record at city council meetings than yet another reserved bus lane that will take away parking spaces. There were no questions after the presentation.

I can’t blame them. Even for someone like me who’s interested in public transit, there’s little new here that doesn’t also apply to every other reserved bus lane in the city.

A city of Montreal truck blocks a bus stop zone as it loads equipment used during a press conference to announce new bus lanes

I couldn’t help noticing during the press conference that there was a car parked in the bus stop zone next to the Laurier metro station. It had a rotating light on the dashboard and seems to have been from a private security agent. Later, after the press conference was over, a city of Montreal truck pulled up and parked in the middle of the bus stop zone to load up the podium and other equipment.

The truck ended up blocking the arrival of the No. 46 bus, forcing it to leave its passengers off from the centre lane of St. Joseph Blvd.

There’s some irony here.

Night bus overhaul coming

Meanwhile, I asked STM chair Michel Labrecque (supposedly the transit users’ representative on the STM’s board) about the upcoming revamping of the night bus service which is coming on June 27. Labrecque feigned ignorance, saying something about not being in the right mindset to discuss it (even though he and one of his aides had, in fact, been doing just that). I was told there would be a news conference on June 15 to explain everything, but that they couldn’t go into details.

A bit odd since bus stop signs with the new numbers have already started appearing. Through the rumour mill we see that the STM will introduce three new lines – the 353 on Lacordaire Blvd., the 354 from downtown to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and the 376 from downtown to Pierrefonds (via Highway 40). All three routes had previously existed and are being brought back in areas similar to where they were years ago. In addition to this, many existing routes will be modified, mainly to extend them so they serve the downtown core (reducing the number of people who have to take the 358 bus and then transfer). The 355 bus will be one of those adding service downtown. The 356 will also be modified so it heads up Sources Blvd. instead of going all the way to Ste. Anne.

I’ll get you more details on those changes after they’re announced, after the schedules are released or after I get details from sources, whichever comes first.

AMT allows bicycles on more trains

Central Station is no longer off-limits to bicycles

It didn’t get much attention, but the Agence métropolitaine de transport has loosened its restrictions for carrying bicycles aboard commuter trains, opening them up for the first time on all five lines instead of just two.

Previously, bicycles were only allowed outside rush hours (meaning midday or late night on weekdays, and on weekends), only on the Deux-Montagnes and Vaudreuil-Hudson lines, and even then not at all stations (Central Station was the most prominent to now not allow bicycles, presumably because of the difficulty of navigating them through staircases and through the underground malls).

Under the new rules, which took effect May 1, bicycles are now allowed on all five lines, and are allowed on all trains except those during rush hour in the direction of the rush (so bicycles are allowed on morning trains toward the suburbs, and afternoon trains toward downtown).

They’re also allowed at all stations except three: Hudson (which is moot because it’s only served by rush-hour trains), Île Perrot and Candiac (the latter two probably because of platform issues).

Central Station has a few specific rules: Bicycles are only allowed to enter and exit the platform through the central staircase and the elevators, and are only permitted to enter and leave Central Station through the de la Gauchetière exit (so bicycles can’t be walked through the underground city or toward Place Ville-Marie).

Rush hours, according to the schedules, are:

  • Deux-Montagnes-Montreal: Trains up to 9am. Trains at 9:55am and after are permitted
  • Montreal-Deux-Montagnes: Trains from 3pm to 6:20pm, inclusive
  • Vaudreuil-Montreal: Trains up to the 8:10am departure from Vaudreuil
  • Montreal-Vaudreuil: Trains from 3:15pm to 6pm, inclusive
  • Blainville-Montreal: Trains up to the 7:25am departure from Saint-Jérôme (note that no trains leaving Saint-Jérôme allow bicycles because they’re all during rush hour)
  • Montreal-Saint-Jérôme: Lucien L’Allier departures from 3:35pm to 5:30pm, inclusive (the final departure at 6:45pm allows bicycles, and goes to Saint-Jérôme)
  • Delson-Montreal: Departures before and including 8:05am
  • Montreal-Delson: Lucien L’Allier departures from 3:40pm to 5:15pm, inclusive
  • Saint-Hilaire-Montreal: All morning departures (1:45pm and 7pm allow bicycles)
  • Montreal-Saint-Hilaire: Central Station departures from 4:30pm to 6pm, inclusive

STM adds St. Michel bus route starting Monday

 

The new bus 41 Quartier Saint-Michel/Ahuntsic

The Société de transport de Montréal does its quarterly schedule change on Monday. There are the usual minor improvements to bus schedules.

The biggest change is a whole new line, the 41 Quartier Saint-Michel/Ahuntsic (PDF), whose route is above. It links the Sauvé station on the orange line, the Saint-Michel station on the blue line and upper Pie IX Blvd. (The result is a pretty sharp U shape, which makes it unlikely people will use it for its whole length, and makes you wonder why they didn’t just split it in half at Saint-Michel and create two routes.)

Service will be weekdays excluding holidays, from 5:30am to 9pm, with departures spaced about 20 minutes apart.

In other changes to bus schedules and routes:

The next schedule change comes in June. That’s when the STM’s major overhaul of its night service (including the addition of three new routes) is expected to take effect. The changes were supposed to be approved at the last board meeting but were pulled off the agenda at the last minute.

On the South Shore, the RTL is planning its own changes the following week (starting April 4). They are outlined in pamphlets for Brossard and Boucherville.

STM bus route changes coming Jan. 3

A few changes to some bus routes as the new schedules take effect Monday morning:

New route for 25 Angus as of Jan. 3, 2011

25 Angus: The most radical change happening Monday is the 25 bus, which is being redirected to the Rosemont metro station instead of doubling the 24 to the Sherbrooke metro station. It now takes Molson, Masson, Iberville and Rosemont. Though still a rush-hour-only bus, the number of departures is nearly doubled, going from five to nine in each direction during each rush hour.

46 Casgrain: The westbound part of this tiny route is being modified. Instead of taking Laurier westbound from Rivard to Casgrain, it takes Saint-Joseph west to Saint-Laurent, and then doubles back to Casgrain along Laurier.

89 Gouin/Perras: This line is discontinued, merged into the nearly identical 48 Perras. About every second departure of the 48 becomes 48X, taking a minor detour via Langelier and Ozias-Leduc

Fagstein’s 2010-11 guide to holiday transit

The lucky of us either have cars or have family with cars that can shuttle us around. Or we have enough money for taxis that we don’t have to worry about taking a bus or metro or train. For the rest, this guide to service changes during the holiday season.

As I have in previous years, I ask that you have some sympathy for the bus, metro or train driver, station attendant or other employee who has to work during the holidays – some on Christmas morning, some through midnight on New Year’s Eve – just so that you can get you from point A to point B in the dark, wet, snowy mess that is the last week of the year.

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Lies, damn lies and metro statistics

Line Green (1) Orange (2) Yellow (4)* Blue (5)
Criminal acts 541 395 429 90
Ridership 87.7M 91.3M 34M 22.2M
Crimes per million 6.17 4.33 12.62 4.05

The Gazette leads today’s paper with statistics on crime in the metro system gleaned via an access-to-information request. Montreal police wouldn’t break down the crime by individual station – citing security concerns – but would do so by line (kinda). The Gazette concludes that the green line has the most crime, with 541 reported acts, compared to 395 for the orange line, which has more ridership.

It’s not surprising that the green line shows more reported crime (even though the numbers in absolute terms are pretty darn small, averaging about 1.5 crimes against a person – including theft – 2 crimes against property – theft burglary, vandalism – and less than one other criminal offence per day across the 64 Montreal police-patrolled stations). The green line not only has the busiest stations, but goes through the downtown core, as well as some of the city’s poorer areas, like Pointe St. Charles and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. But, of course, this is just conjecture until more detailed statistics come out.

*The STM curiously decided to lump the four transfer stations in with the yellow line statistics, even though only one of those four transfer stations actually serves the yellow line. Considering the Longueuil station isn’t included in the statistics (because it’s in Longueuil police territory) and the traffic through the Jean-Drapeau station is negligible (about 5% of the total traffic for the five stations included in that statistic), you can basically read “yellow” above to mean the four transfer stations.

The statistics show that it’s those transfer stations that are the most likely to result in crimes when you divide the total crimes by station. But then, even those statistics lie, because ridership numbers only count passages through turnstiles, they don’t count transfers between lines.

So all we can really say here is that statistically, crimes are more likely to happen on the green line than the orange line or the blue line, not counting the transfer stations. Which is hardly going to stop people from taking the green line.

And while we wait to see if The Gazette can get the access to information commission to force the police to release more detailed data, we can just take some comfort in the fact that, on average, a metro station will see a criminal act worth reporting only 22 times a year, or once every 16 days.