Tag Archives: AMT

Posted in Public transit

2013-14 guide to holiday transit service

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.

And with this holiday season being even more snowy than normal, consider that buses will be late or possibly not even show up at all, and plan your transit trips accordingly.

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

STM (Montreal, including the entire metro)

Note that from Dec. 20 to Jan. 5, 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.

  • Monday, Dec. 23 and Tuesday, Dec. 24:
    • Buses and metro service will follow a regular weekday schedule.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25:
    • Bus routes will run on a Sunday schedule.
  • Thursday, Dec. 26:
    • Bus routes will run on a Saturday or special holiday schedule.
    • Metro service will run on a special schedule, with additional trains added to the Orange and Green lines to accommodate rabid Boxing Day shoppers.
  • Dec. 27-30: Normal schedules for all services.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 31:
    • Buses, metro and taxi service will follow a regular weekday schedule.
    • As usual, there’s no extension of metro service despite how many people are out celebrating New Year’s Eve. Last trains of the night leave the two blue line terminuses at 12:15am, in all five directions from Berri at 1:00am and from Longueuil at 1:00am.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1:
    • Bus routes will follow Sunday schedules..
  • Thursday, Jan. 2:
    • Bus routes and metro trains will follow a Saturday or special holiday schedule.

Special rules for adapted transit are in place from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2.

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, and is collecting donations instead.

Holiday schedules were apparently misstated in their printed schedules. The correct information is:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 24: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Wednesday, 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 and 903.
    • All other routes will have full regular Sunday service.
  • Thursday, Dec. 26: Saturday schedules in effect for all routes.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular schedules for all routes according to the day of the week.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 31: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Wednesday, 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 and 903.
    • All other routes will have full regular Sunday service.
  • Thursday, 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:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 24 (free service): Saturday schedule for most routes, except:
    • Additional departures will be added to the following routes: 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 47, 54, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 90, 99, 123, T77.
    • Regular weekday service or 91, 92, T22, T23 and T89.
    • The 177 will not run, replaced by the 77 which will offer special holiday service with departures every 30 minutes.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25: Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Thursday, Dec. 26: Saturday schedules for most routes, except:
    • Saturday schedule with additional departures on lines 8, 35, 45, 80.
    • Weekday schedule for taxi lines T22 and T89.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular service for all routes according to the day of the week
  • Tuesday, Dec. 31 (free service): Saturday schedule for all routes, except:
    • Additional departures will be added to the following routes: 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 47, 54, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 90, 99, 123, T77.
    • Regular weekday service or 91, 92, T22, T23 and T89.
    • The 177 will not run, replaced by the 77 which will offer special holiday service with departures every 30 minutes.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Thursday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday schedules for all routes, with additional departures on lines 8, 35, 45, 80.

AMT (commuter trains)

The AMT offers free trips on the three lines that operate on Christmas and New Year’s — Vaudreuil/Hudson, Deux-Montagnes and Saint-Jérôme.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 24: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25:
    • Sunday service on all lines that operate Sundays (all trips are free)
  • Thursday, Dec. 26:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Vaudreuil and Saint-Jérôme lines
    • No service on other lines
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular service on all lines according to the day of the week
  • Tuesday, Dec. 31: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday service on all lines that operate Sundays (all trips are free)
  • Thursday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Vaudreuil and Saint-Jérôme lines
    • No service on other lines

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

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

Fagstein’s 2012-13 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)

Note that from Dec. 22 to Jan. 6, 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.

  • Monday, Dec. 24:
    • Buses and metro service will follow a regular Monday schedule.
  • Tuesday, 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.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26:
    • Most bus routes will run on a Saturday schedule.
    • Metro service will run on a special schedule, with additional trains added to the Orange and Green lines to accommodate rabid Boxing Day shoppers.
    • Monday to Friday shared taxi service will not be in operation.
  • Dec. 27-30: Normal schedules for all services.
  • Monday, Dec. 31:
    • Buses, metro and taxi service will follow a regular Saturday schedule.
    • As usual, there’s no extension of metro service despite how many people are out celebrating New Year’s Eve. Last trains of the night leave the two blue line terminuses at 12:15am, in all five directions from Berri at 1:00am and from Longueuil at 1:00am.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1:
    • Most bus routes will follow Sunday schedules..
    • Metro trains will pass about every 10-12 minutes on the green line and every 10 minutes on the other lines.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 2:
    • Most bus routes and metro trains will follow a Saturday 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. Holiday schedules based on their online flyer:

  • Monday, Dec. 24: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Tuesday, 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.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26: Saturday schedules in effect for all routes.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular schedules for all routes according to the day of the week.
  • Monday, Dec. 31: Saturday schedule. Free service on all routes.
  • Tuesday, 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.
  • Wednesday, 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:

  • Monday, Dec. 24 (free service): Saturday schedule for most routes, except:
    • Additional departures will be added to the following routes: 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 47, 54, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 99, 123.
    • Regular weekday service or 91, 92, T22, T23 and T89.
    • The 177 will not run, replaced by the 77 and T77 which will offer weekday service every 30 minutes.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25: Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26:
    • Saturday schedules for most routes, except:
    • Saturday schedule with additional departures on lines 35, 45, 80.
    • A modified schedule for the 8.
    • Weekday schedule for taxi lines T22 and T89.
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular service for all routes according to the day of the week
  • Monday, Dec. 31 (free service): Saturday schedule for all routes, except:
    • Additional departures will be added to the following routes: 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 47, 54, 73, 77, 80, 81, 83, 99, 123.
    • Regular weekday service or 91, 92, T22, T23 and T89.
    • The 177 will not run, replaced by the 77 and T77 which will offer weekday service every 30 minutes.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday schedule for all routes
  • Wednesday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday schedules for all routes, with additional departures on lines 35, 45, 80.

AMT (commuter trains)

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

From their website:

  • Monday, Dec. 24: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25:
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Vaudreuil (all trips are free)
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Vaudreuil
    • No service on other lines
  • Dec. 27-30: Regular service on all lines according to the day of the week
  • Monday, Dec. 31: Regular weekday service on all lines
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1:
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Vaudreuil (all trips are free)
  • Wednesday, Jan. 2:
    • Saturday service on Montreal/Deux-Montagnes
    • Sunday service on Montreal/Vaudreuil
    • No service on other lines

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

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

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.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

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.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

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.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

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
Posted in Montreal, Public transit

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Montreal, Pop quiz, Public transit

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 80

The line formed by 55th Ave., Côte de Liesse (Highway 520), Highway 13, Côte Vertu Blvd., Sauvé St., and Pie-IX Blvd. represents what?

UPDATE: A bunch of you got this right, though NDGer was the first. It’s the border between the AMT’s Zones 1 and 2 (grey and pink on this map).

The AMT’s zoning system (where higher-numbered zones pay more to use commuter trains and multiple-network bus trips) is roughly based on the distance to downtown Montreal (assuming that everyone is travelling downtown to work, which of course isn’t always the case).

There are some quirks though, for example Lachine is considered Zone 1 while Longueuil, which is much closer to downtown, is Zone 3. Similarly, Kahnawake (Zone 5) is closer than Pointe-Claire (Zone 2), and most of the Zone 8 territories are closer than Rigaud (Zone 6), though that won’t matter once Rigaud loses its train service on July 1.

Thanks to SMS for this week’s question.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

The airport-train link: Let’s put our cards on the table

It seems like forever that we’ve been arguing over which route should be taken by the new train linking Trudeau airport with downtown. In fact, I wrote about the debate almost two years ago.

Airport train's possible routes: CP route to Lucien L'Allier (red) and CN route to Central Station (blue)

Using existing railways, there are two possible routes, each of which ends at a different terminus:

  • Using CP tracks that go through NDG and Westmount, ending at Lucien L’Allier station just outside the Bell Centre. This is the same path used by the Dorion/Rigaud train line.
  • Using mainly CN tracks, passing through the Turcot interchange and St. Henri and ending at Central Station. This is the path used by VIA trains to Toronto and Ottawa.

This debate is in the news again because Aéroports de Montréal (which runs the airport) and the Agence métropolitaine de transport (which runs the commuter trains) are having a pissing match, refusing to give in on their choices. The AMT wants to use the CP route, because it’s cheaper and because it uses tracks (and stations) already used by the AMT. ADM wants to use the CN route because it leads to Central Station and downtown hotels.

Both camps are now using quantitative data to make their cases. Joël Gauthier, of the AMT, points to the fact that the CP route is significantly less expensive – $786 million vs. $1.1 billion. James Cherry, of the ADM, points to a study that shows ridership would be 22 per cent higher if the train ended at Central Station.

Various third parties are also jumping in, some on Cherry’s side making the Central Station argument, others on Gauthier’s side for Lucien L’Allier.

Despite what both these men think, the issue is neither obvious nor is there a desperate need to make a snappy decision. Yeah, it’s been years, but these studies are only coming to light now, and this kind of study is the difference between a billion-dollar project and a billion-dollar boondoggle.

That said, unless there’s some other serious study that needs to be done, it’s about time to make a decision. So let’s put all our cards on the table. Here are, from what I can see, the benefits of each route:

Continue reading

Posted in Public transit

2009-10 guide to holiday transit

Mostly cribbed from last year’s guide.

Here’s what to expect from the Montreal-area transit authorities for service this holiday season, including special holiday service schedules and free service days.

Once again, I ask that you have some sympathy for the bus or metro driver who has to work during the holidays getting whiny vomiting drunk people from A to B in thick snow.

Continue reading

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

AMT fares for 2010

The AMT on Tuesday finally released its fare table for 2010 to the public, becoming the first major transit agency to do so. Neither the RTL, STL or STM have released a table, though they are all expected to increase slightly (the STM board was expected to vote on an increase at their meeting Tuesday night, but apparently that’s going to happen at another meeting, possibly next week).

The AMT fares are going up by 1.5 to 2%, which is much less than the 3-4% they went up at the beginning of 2009. So a $100 pass would go up by $2 on Jan. 1, 2010, when it went up by $3.50 on Jan. 1, 2009.

Here’s the skinny by zone and type:

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8
Areas in this zone Downtown Montreal North end, St. Laurent, eastern West Island, between Pie IX and Highway 25 Longueuil, Laval, eastern and western tips of the island La Prairie, Île Perrot Vaudreuil, Deux Montagnes, Terrebonne, Repentigny, Sainte Julie, St. Bruno, Chambly, Candiac, St. Constant, Kahnawake, Châteauguay and Mercier Saint Lazare, Hudson*, Rigaud*, Blainville, Mascouche, Verchères, Beloeil, Marieville, Beauharnois Les Cèdres, Oka, Mirabel, L’Assomption, St. Sulpice Valleyfield, Laurentides, St. Jerome, Sorel, St. Hyacinthe,
Train stations in this zone Central Station to Montpellier, Lucien L’Allier to Lachine, LaSalle and Chabanel Du Ruisseau to Roxboro, Dorval to Cedar Park, Bois de Boulogne Beaconsfield to Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Île Bigras, St. Lambert, St. Hubert, plus all stations in Laval Île Perrot, Pincourt Grand Moulin, Deux Montagnes, Dorion, Vaudreuil, Rosemère, Ste. Thérèse, St. Bruno, St. Basile le Grand, Ste. Catherine, St. Constant, Delson, Candiac, Hudson*, Rigaud* Hudson, Rigaud, Blainville, McMasterville, St. Hilaire St. Jérôme None
TRAM (regular fare) $81 (79.50 + 1.9%) $94.50 ($93 +1.6%) $111 ($109  +1.8%) $121 ($119 +1.7%) $140 ($138 +1.4%) $168 ($165  +1.8%) $194 ($191 +1.6%) $222 ($218 +1.8%)
TRAM (intermediate fare) $65 ($63.50 +2.4%) $75.50 ($74.50 +1.3%) $89 ($87 +2.3%) $97 ($95 +2.1%) $112 ($110 +1.8%) $134 ($132 +1.5%) $155 ($153 +1.3%) $178 ($174 +2.3%)
TRAM (reduced fare) $48.50 ($47.50 +2.1%) $56.50 ($55.50 +1.8%) $66.50 ($65.50 +1.5%) $72.50 ($71.50 +1.4%) $84 ($83 +1.2%) $101 ($99 +2.0%) $116 ($115 +0.9%) $133 ($131 +1.5%)
TRAIN only (regular) N/A N/A N/A $111 ($109 +1.8%) $119 ($117 +1.7%) $143 ($140 +2.1%) $165 ($162 +1.9%) N/A
TRAIN only (intermediate) N/A N/A N/A $89 ($87 +2.3%) $95 ($93.50 +1.6%) $114 ($112 +1.8%) $132 ($130 +1.5%) N/A
TRAIN only (reduced) N/A N/A N/A $66.50 ($65.50 +1.5%) $71.50 ($70 +2.1%) $86 ($84 +2.4%) $99 ($97 +2.1%) N/A
Six tickets (regular) $16 (no change) $19 ($18.50 +2.7%) $22 (no change) $24 (no change) $28 ($27.50 +1.8%) $33.50 ($33 +1.5%) $39 ($38 +2.6%) N/A
Six tickets (reduced) $9.50 (no change) $11.50 ($11 + 4.5%) $13 (no change) $14.50 (no change) $17 ($16.50 +3.0%) $20 (no change) $23.50 ($23 +2.2%) N/A

*Hudson and Rigaud are technically in Zone 6, but the AMT is extending its “reduction tarifiaire” so people who use those stations need only a Zone 5 pass.

The released table doesn’t list prices for single fares, I guess because there won’t be any of those anymore. Which is a shame.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

Transit agencies aren’t giving enough notice of fare increases

Late November has always been transit fare increase season, as the various agencies rush to approve fare hikes in time to give users the requisite 30-day notice.

But in the past couple of years, the transit agencies have been lazy, pushing late November into early December, giving people only a few weeks to prepare.

Now, this may seem trivial. In the past, the only real effect of cutting it this close has been printing monthly passes without prices on them (AA$ and BB$) for January and February. But it seems just another disrespect of users for these transit agencies to not follow their own rules.

La Presse points out that the STM and RTL haven’t yet given notice of their fares for 2009, the STL didn’t respond to say whether or not it had, and the AMT has apparently given notice to the government but not its users about fares for 2010.

The 30 days notice comes from Quebec’s law concerning public transit corporations, section 90:

Titres de transport.

90. Une société établit, par règlement, différents titres de transport et en fixe les tarifs selon les modalités et pour les catégories d’usagers qu’elle détermine.

Tarifs.

Le secrétaire publie ces tarifs dans un journal diffusé dans le territoire de la société et les affiche dans les véhicules de la société. Ils entrent en vigueur le trentième jour qui suit cette publication ou à toute autre date ultérieure qui y est fixée.

Entrée en vigueur accélérée.

Cependant, lorsque la société est d’avis que des circonstances exceptionnelles le justifient, les tarifs peuvent entrer en vigueur à compter du dixième jour de leur publication pourvu qu’elle publie également les motifs de sa décision.

2001, c. 23, a. 90.

It’s unclear if the transit agencies are ignoring the law, if this law somehow doesn’t apply to them (or maybe I’ve read it wrong) or they’re using that “exceptional circumstances” rule.

One thing is clear, as far as public notice goes, this is becoming a habit. Last year, the RTL, STL and AMT all announced fare schedules less than 30 days before Jan. 1. Only the STM announced its fares in November.

There are no exceptional circumstances. We should have fare tables by now.

Posted in In the news, Montreal, Public transit

Status quo at AMT

File photo of a train for illustration win!

File photo of a train for illustration win!

At midnight Friday night, CN locomotive engineers went on strike, following their 72-hour notice that sent everyone in a panic because two AMT train lines (Deux-Montagnes and Mont-Saint-Hilaire) are run by those engineers and would have been disrupted or even shut down if there was a strike.

Fortunately, late Friday night the union agreed (or was forced to through an AMT injunction) to keep service on the AMT trains running as normal through the strike.

As you can expect from the AMT’s deficient customer service, there’s no mention of this late-night, last-minute change – or even of the strike itself – on their website’s homepage, despite all the media attention it has been getting. Even under “avis aux voyageurs”, there’s no mention of the potentially crippling strike, and users get the very unhelpful “aucune information disponible” for the status of all five train lines. You have to know to go to the AMT’s corporate website to find a press release saying service won’t be affected.

Contrast that with VIA Rail, which has its own engineers and so wasn’t going to be affected in the first place. Nevertheless, there’s a section of its homepage for travel advisories, and it says very clearly that service won’t be affected by the CN strike. (VIA has some experience with this, going through a strike of its own this summer.)

At GO Transit in Toronto, it’s not as clear if there will be disruptions (and there’s nothing on the homepage), but the status page (updated regularly even on weekend afternoons) makes it clear the service is still running normally.

As for CN itself, the homepage makes it look like nothing’s wrong at first, but under “news releases” there’s mention of the strike, and the “state of the railroad” page has a few details about what’s going on.

I realize nobody likes to work weekends, and those who do can’t change the elaborate web page design that the boss’s nephew was paid lots of money to put together, but when engineers go on strike, we don’t care about your new train cars or how you’re fighting for the environment. We want to know what’s going on.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

New deadline for Opus renewal: Nov. 15

The AMT and STM have decided to give reduced-fare Opus users a one-time grace period to renew their ID cards (probably since many of them – including my little brother – didn’t know they had to renew their cards, thinking they were good for two years).

Students now have until Nov. 15 (which I guess means they can buy their November passes but they can’t use them past that date?)

The STM says it is buying ads on Facebook to reach many of those students and remind them of this weird new policy.

Posted in Montreal, Public transit

Free transit on Tuesday (with coupon)

This week, the national Super 7 lottery was replaced with a new one called Lotto Max. Loto-Quebec, which handles this voluntary tax on the stupid here, has been using some of its vast fortune to promote the new gambling scheme.

Among them is sponsoring free passage on all Montreal transit networks on Tuesday, which is the AMT’s car-free day (in case you haven’t paid attention to the news, that means a few blocks of downtown will be closed between the two rush hours, providing minimal disruption to commuting traffic).

To take advantage of free transit, people have only to clip the coupons that appeared in major newspapers, or download one from Loto-Québec’s website (from a PDF so compressed the fine print is illegible).

This might be of little use to people who already have monthly passes, but because this also applies to RTL, STL and AMT transit, it means you can freely travel on commuter trains and on off-island transit networks. Want to take a trip to Carrefour Laval? Dix-30? Or just take the comfortable train to the West Island after work? Might as well take advantage.