Montreal Geography Trivia No. 70

What is the significance of these numbers:

45, 100, 131, 132, 159, 171, 179, 197, 221, 505

UPDATE: It took a day, but two of you (plam and Kaycee) got it within minutes of each other: These are STM bus routes that end at a métro station and share the same name.

From contributor and transit geek Shanake Seneviratne:

The practice of placing a bus route’s ultimate terminus on the destination sign is not one that has been adopted by the STM. Unlike other systems that indicate the endpoints of a route (Laval, Longueuil, Ottawa, and Toronto all do good jobs with their destination signs), Montreal has adopted a “dominant street or neighbourhood” naming policy. While this works well in principle, in actual fact this can backfire. The 168, for example, hasn’t served Cité du Havre proper in decades. The 460 doesn’t go on the Métropolitaine but rather parallel to it. The 215 is more deserving of the title Brunswick than the 208 is!

With new buses with excellent capabilities with regard to their destination sign, the STM can surely be more flexible and proactive.

Of course, most of these buses are actually named for the streets that the métro stations are named after, but there’s an interesting debate on what names bus routes should take.

Maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the Montreal system, but I tend to like it for the most part. It runs into trouble when routes don’t take any particular street for very long. Naming buses for their destination assumes that people are going to that destination. While métro stations and terminuses are certainly big draws for transit users, they’re not the destination for all.

Besides, with maps at most bus stops now, and the increasing use of smartphones to get information on the go, the importance of the name of a bus route has diminished.

32 thoughts on “Montreal Geography Trivia No. 70



  2. William Moss

    Well, they are all current STM bus routes, but I haven’t figured out what other significance they have in common.

  3. Anonymous

    I don’t know why they’re significant, but I’m going to assume that they’re all bus routes. Past that, I have no idea.

  4. Alex T.

    STM Bus Routes… But what to Papineau, Cremazie, de l’Assomption, Viau, Metrobus Henri-Bourassa, Henri-Bourassa, de l’Acadie, Rosemont, Hymus and Express Pie-IX have in common!?

  5. Alex T.

    Correction: STM Bus Routes… But what do Papineau, Cremazie, de l’Assomption, Viau, Metrobus Henri-Bourassa, Henri-Bourassa, de l’Acadie, Rosemont, Metrobus Lionel-Groulx and Express Pie-IX have in common!?

  6. Steve Hatton

    Given that three of these routes happen to be rapid service routes (Express or Metrobus) and that the 100 runs along an Expressway and also that the others seem to run in the middle of nowhere (areas with less people and/or traffic lights). My guess is that these are bus routes that take you to a metro without taking forever.

  7. Franc

    The only thing I can see at the moment is bus lines that have, or will have in the near future, a reserved lane during rush hour.

  8. Sheldon

    Hmmm. Everyone is going for bus routes. I’ll try something else. Are they the addresses of buildings on one particular street?

  9. Mark D.

    Well, they’re all STM bus routes, that’s for sure. Each one of them leads to a Metro station. They also each run on or near a major highway or provincial route. The 45 runs on Papineau, which becomes Autoroute 19; the 100 runs on the Metropolitan service roads; the 131 terminates within sight of the Met; the 132 passes it; the 159 runs past Aut. 25 & Rt. 125 (Pie-IX); the 171 passes Aut. 15 & Rte. 335 (Berri & Lajeunesse Sts.); the 179 runs parallel to Aut. 15; the 197 terminates near St. Denis St (Rt. 335) & also passes Papineau (Aut. 19); most of the 221’s route is on Aut. 20, and the 505 runs on Pie-IX, which is Rt. 125 (which later merges with Aut. 25 at Henri-Bourassa). Part of me also believes that each route also crosses a bridge or two, but at this rate, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the significance of these routes are.

  10. Dude

    Wild guess, they are current bus routes that were considered to be transformed to tramways or were in the past… ??? OR… they follow the path previously planned metro lines that never happenned. Something like that…

  11. SMS

    Thanks for playing everybody!

    A friend remarked to me that our destination signs are just copied straight from our old roll signs (no extra information – just the route number and name). As such, there was no flexibility transferred to the digital destination signs. Now it’s possible with 2005+ model buses.

    I’ll offer an example of how the STM could use our destination signs better. My chosen example is for the route 105 Sherbrooke (named as such since 1956 – when the Ste. Catherine streetcar was decommissioned for motorbuses).

    Observe how Ottawa does it:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the 105’s destination sign read 105 MONTRÉAL-OUEST or 105 VENDOME instead of 105 Sherbrooke? (Count exactly how many bus routes operated by the STM have Sherbrooke in it!)

    Now observe this Toronto example:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the 105 said
    via Sherbrooke

    Food for thought.

  12. soup

    I believe you’ve missed Route 92 Jean Talon Ouest. I know “Ouest” isn’t in the station name, but you have bus 159 and 221 which are listed as “Métrobus”.

    There are also a couple of night buses that are in the same category: 359 Papineau and 378 Sauvé/Côte-Vertu.

  13. SMS

    You’re right about the night buses (I ignored them) but the 92 I didn’t want on purpose… otherwise I’d have to put 174 as well

    Nevertheless thanks for the addenda!

  14. Rich


    The gigantic pillars in the McGill metro station have reverted back to their original orange colour! Woohoo!

    Ok, so maybe it’s not *exactly* the original colour, but it’s pretty damn close. This pleases me to no end.

    In related news… the STM *still* has no one in their employ capable of colour-matching wiring conduit to bare concrete (or to any building material at all for that matter). Le sigh.

  15. Rich

    Speaking of the metro…

    I’ve been using the Guy station a lot lately (the gym in the basement of the Concordia EV building is awesome, BTW). I noticed recently that Guy-Concordia is a lot deeper than the rest of the cut-n-cover-style green line stations serving downtown. Does anyone know what’s up with that?

    Is there a mondo sewer line carrying precious Westmount turds coming down from Cote-des-Neiges here? Or fresh water lines going up to the reservoir on the mountain? Are there any special geological conditions in this area? Or was it the foundations of some pre-existing building that caused the metro builders to break out the tunnel boring machine for this stretch?

    And most importantly… am I weird to wonder about these sorts of things?

    No, wait… Don’t answer that last question.


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