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.
The worse part about all this is there are three deadhead (empty) trains, that go from Montreal to Candiac during AM rush, and from Candiac to Montreal in PM rush. These trains would fit the reverse commuter perfectly.
You should correct your story slightly :
The AMT has just PROMISED to increase parking space on their respective stations on the Candiac line. It hasn’t happened yet.
I take the train every morning from Ste-Catherine train station and i can assure you that by 9:00AM, it’s VERY hard to find a spot in the parking lot if you don’t come earlyer. The promised additional space should have been added a loooong time ago. It’s like all of a sudden they woke up and decided to add 3 more trains and increase the parking space when they should have done this months ago.
Anyway, i’m thankful as you are as i can now take the new 6:45 train from Ste-Catherine and arrive at work just in time for my shift, but it’s just got a bitter taste about it knowing full well that they had the capacity to add more trains and more parking space a long time ago..
You hit an issue that I think is key to the whole public transit / traffic situation: if car drivers don’t have a place to park their cars at the remote ends of the transit system, they will choose to drive into town instead. 1000 extra car spots at these stations would very likely mean a similar number of cars less coming over the bridges, going downtown, etc.
I have often thought that these train lines should be “spurred” at the end to an empty area, the land purchases, and a major amount of parking created to service the train directly, with no other use. Treat it like the airport, keep adding parking and trains as needed, perhaps even adding shuttle buses to move people around the parking so that it is very convenient for everyone.
Until the work is done at the remote ends of the systems, the traffic in Montreal will not change much.
Building parking lots is very expensive.
Perhaps the better thing to do would be to have private entreprises build parking lots, and charge a fee to finance them. I suppose that $15 per day would be a fair fare, that would account for the construction expenses, land acquisition, municipal taxes and corporate profits.
After all, why should I, who doesn’t own a car and doesn’t use the roads, pay with my hard-earned tax dollars for a parking lot so a cheapskate who’s too stingy to get a proper house in the city can park his ton of scrap on wheels during the day?
You can get downtown parking for less than that. If you argue that such lots should charge, they should at least charge less than downtown parking lots.
You sort of missed the point of the parking lots. If you want less cars downtown, and less cars crowding up your beloved NDG, you have to give the drivers of those cars reasons and convenience to stop using them. Building a parking lot and then charging more than it costs to be downtown for the trip is pointless. $15 for parking $5 for the train, and suddenly you have made a great case for driving your car downtown.
The same mistake is made by the STM at Angrinon. $5 a day for parking means that the big lot here isn’t full, the side streets are packed with people trying to park for free, and the traffic going downtown is as heavy as ever.
I am starting to think you are just being the loyal opposition to anything I say. Oh yeah, the sky is blue.
Actually, no. Parking lots cater to suburbanites that don’t want to take the bus to the train or Métro station.
Don’t worry, I haven’t been living in NDG for 35 years now, and I don’t miss it a bit. St-Henri, below, is a much better place to live.
Not if the roads to downtown are hopelessly clogged by other suburbanites.
But yes, there has to be something done with parking lots, though; the problem is that parking lots are a great way to launder money. Remember some years back how his honour, mayor Tremblay quickly backtracked when he wanted to close most vacant lot parkings??? Hopefully, the PQ who has no mob connections will handle things differently.
Angrignon is not exactly the easiest access place; from Angrignon boulevard off the 2-20, you’re almost downtown. As of on-street parking, the problem could be solved with stickers, but that introduces the intolerable aspect of renting (for dirt-cheap!!!) public real-estate for private use (in Ahuntsic, a lot of people have taken stickers and stopped parking on their own property). I suppose that a good way to mitigate that problem would be a congestion charge; a punitive tax (say $20 per entrance) would be imposed on cars that cross the magic Montréal threshold; that would be a wonderful way to boost the Economy as exemplified with London, England who is a triving metropolis despite the congestion charge.
However, I think the whole legal approach to driving needs to be re-examined.
You have perhaps noticed the increasing lawlessness that pervades our roads; 30 years ago, you saw someone running a red light perhaps 2-3 times a year. Nowadays, you see the occurence daily.
It need to be reminded that driving is not a right, but a **PRIVILEGE**. Road safety issue is important, but the amount of people killed yearly on the roads clearly shows that people give the notion very short shrift. So something radical has to be done.
First of all, there are far too many cars on the road. The herd has to be culled, and what better way to do so than weeding-out the bad drivers? The number of points should be decreased, for one thing.
Then there is the question of monitoring. Police officers cost a lot of money to train and pay, and that skill should not be wasted on mere traffic enforcement. So what should be done is that every car should be fitted with an official even recorder with a camera that faces forwards and another that records the driver; this is for evidence in the case of a road accident and for eventual moving violations. Roadside beacons would tell the black-box what the speed limit would be, and whether traffic lights are red or green for the direction taken.
The black box would monitor the driver, and automatically issue tickets for each violation. The video could serve to further incriminate the driver in case of contestation.
Identifying the driver is simply done by inserting the driver’s license (with suitable machine-readable markings — no RFID here because we’re weary about protecting people’s privacy — but only when not driving; no, when doing anything on the street, such as driving a car, you have no expectation of privacy) into the black box.
Hopefully, with this regime, the number of drivers can be culled to the point that only neurotic, obedient drivers who anally follow every single rule of the road remain, and safety is dramatically enhanced. That will force people to re-evaluate their choice of a car-dependent lifestyle and move back to where they belong, the holy City where they can contribute more efficiently to Society without being sucked lifeless by those bloodsucking cars and by becoming good public transit patrons or good ecological bicyclists.
(Oh, no, bicycles are not subject to this, because they have the immense virtue of not being polluting cars, and you want to favourize the use of bicycles — what we want is to get rid of cars as much as possible).
I will always oppose a viewpoint that calls going back 40 years to the carhead-centric 1960’s, the epitome of social FAIL. Cars are an utter failure, an economic dead-end and a social nonsense that have done much to destroy society.
Québec has no automobile industry whatsoever; a full 20% of our domestic product is leeched away by road transportation. The only logical course is to make sure we are not so utterly dependent in such a ruinous mode of transportation.
EMDX, you absolutely blow me away. You propose all sorts of things that would violate privacy (tracking boxes? hello?), or that have been proven not to work.
The congestion tax in London has done little over the long run. For a short while, traffic diminished, but in the end, traffic is just as bad and volume is pretty much the same as it was before they started. If the need is there, the traffic will be there.
If your basis of things being good and bad is based on occassional criminal aspects (like money laundering at parking lots) then you better be ready for pretty much every other type of business in the city to shut down, because all types have been used to launder money. That argument is a total failure from end to end. When it comes to parking at remote locations, the idea is to make it more desirable to take then train than it is to drive downtown. If you don’t improve the offering (without artificially limiting the car option), you will find that people will just choose the car. Nothing you are proposing will change that.
As for Angrinon, you hit it exactly, it is too close to town. It is on the wrong side of the major traffic jam on the 20 from Dorval to the yards, such that if you have driven that far, you might as well just keep going. However, Angrinon is incredibly popular with people from the lasalle, lachine, and similar areas, as people want to avoid taking their cars into town. A well prices parking option at the metro would encourage even more people to do so. Right now they fail. Oh yeah, the entire area is on parking stickers, but the small areas that are not stickered are competitive parking areas (and free). The number of people trying to get those free spots to me is an indication that people will park their cars away from the city and take public transit if it is convenient and priced accordingly.
As for the “there are too many cars”, well, I disagree. What there is a lack of is the sort of public transit offerings that would change the number of cars coming into the city. Traffic isn’t because of piles of people from the Plateau driving downtown, it’s suburbanites travelling into the city. Adding bus lanes in the city or polishing the floors in metro stations won’t change what the people causing the traffic will do. Improving the transit to these remote areas is what can make the difference, and encourage people to use transit.
Just saying “there needs to be less cars” is about on par with trying to stop the tide. It’s meaningless sloganism.
Most important, I am not suggesting going back 40 years on anything, that is your read. What I am saying is that the public transit people need to stop working their little fiefdoms, stop thinking small and local, and start to think much more regionally about transit. Things are better than they were 20 years ago, but the offer of public transit quite simply has not kept pace with the potential demand. Why is there not metro service to Brossard, and areas like that? Why is there not rapid light rail service to those areas? If public transit doesn’t improve, the use of cars will continue to climb. Don’t blame the cars, blame your own team for not bothering to adapt.
No, you cannot wave your magic wand and make cars go away. Concrete actions to offer something better needs to happen, or nothing will happen at all.
What’s bad with a tracking box in a car? Privacy? In public, in the broad daylight, on the higway? Helooo??? Hello, the Moon, this is Earth calling??? As the owner of the roads, the government is pretty well entitled to know who goes where and when.
Perhaps, but that tax is bringing in a nifty revenue.
However, none is as egrerious as parking lots, car washes and dry-cleaners (remember, some 15-20 years ago, someone started a chain of $1 dry-cleaners; within a week all his locations were firebombed).
No, the idea is to make it undesirable to drive. Period.
Sure, $10 gas (if the market won’t cooperate, taxes may be brought to contribution) will do it nicely.
Let’s close it, then. It infringes on the park. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before…
What? You have a short memory… Some 20 years ago, the Ahuntsic park parking lot (right by the Henri-Bourassa métro station) has been shut down.
As montrealers, they should take the bus into town.
This is ridiculous; why should I pay extra taxes so those people would have a cheap parking when they ride into town? Their cars disfigures and pollutes the city, they endanger the life and limbs of pedestrians and virtuous cyclists, and we would have to subsidize their murderous motoring habit???
There are, indeed, far too many cars, mostly thanks to sprawl and misguided govenrment policy. We cannot afford to have 20% of our domestic product sucked away for transportation.
Whish is why it has to be recognized that suburbs are evil, and must be treated accordingly; the people who made the choice to live there must be made to realize the suffering they induce in the people who wisely chose not to be part of this wholesale rape of the Environment. Providing them with painless transportation to the city is certainly not conductive into making suburban living indesirable.
What you propose is just the status quo: letting the suburbanites have their cake and eat it.
Improving remote transit starts with punishing car use; that’s the best way to have people pester their politicians for better transit.
Au contraire mon cher; it’s not a slogan, it’s a sad realization.
Definitely not! 40 years ago were the absolute hell in terms of public transit! The Drapeau years were the absolute worst!!!
Which is why there should be one sole transit agency that is centrally controlled by Montréal, to cater to Montréal needs, because without Montréal, all those chickenshit suburbs would be just boondocks without any value whatsoever. It’s time that the ’burbs start understanding who matters around here.
Because there is absolutely no need for Métro service to Brossard. In fact, building the Métro was a collosal mistake (brought to you by Drapeau’s megalomania); the only area where the density warrants a Métro is the downtown core (Atwater/St-Denis/Pine/Dorchester/University/Notre-Dame). Elsewhere, it is a colossal waste of money.
Up to the 1950’s, Montréal had an exemplary streetcar system, as well as a top-notch rail network. Both could have been wisely upgraded and integrated into a comprehensive transit system which, for much less cost than the Métro, could have provided the city and the suburbs a world-class transit system that could have averted the ruinous rise in car ownership.
Blame the politicians who do not do what has to be done but what people want to do; which is why there is an urgent need to remerger the suburbs.
No, concrete is not the solution; there is too much concrete in bridges and roads; what is needed is steel and copper; steel for rails and copper for catenary.
Greenfield stations with huge parking lots is a terrible and expensive idea. The AMT is already providing way too much incentive for sprawl. The park and ride paradigm is completely against the idea of public transportation. And it is really expensive. Buses would actually be cheaper, as a way to provide more capacity going to the trains – you don’t need many buses to provide your 1000 parking lots. Even better would be some higher density housing next to the stations – even with plateau-style residential areas you can have more people than the same area used as a parking lot.
@Fagstein: The south shore commuter is not a “cliché”, it’s a market.
I would agree with you in normal terms, except that if you look at the situation in the South Shore, you can understand that this just isn’t going to work.
People buy into the South Shore for the most part because they want their stand alone house, they want their lawn, and they have 2 cars in the front parking. They live in a subdivision that is X miles from the main road, has only one way in and one way out, and generally is it’s own quiet little community. There is no bus service, nor is there any great need for such a service. The kids take a school bus to school, and that’s all that is needed.
The idea of parking is that these people can do what they do every morning, without having to walk a mile or two to the main road to catch a bus. They just get in their car, and head out the door like always. But instead of heading for one of the bridges, they head for a parking area, drop the car off, get on the train, and 20 minutes later they are downtown. No muss, no fuss. It works because you have just given them a tangible benefit they cannot get with their car: They get downtown quickly.
Further, when they come back home, they get in their car, and continue on their happy suburban lifestyle, perhaps driving to the store or whatever. Taking the bus would just not make that as easy to pull off. Combine that with wicked winter weather, and you can picture why these people would have little interest in public transit as it is now.
The idea really is to keep the cars out of downtown, by giving them a better alternative.
I think the idea is to stop the detached housing with 2 cars in the middle of nowhere – or better, stop subsidizing it. The government should stop subsidizing sprawl at the expense of the cities. If people want to have this unsustainable, expensive, land-destroying life-style, they should pay for it. I’d say re-introducing tolls on Champlain could also help dis-incentivise driving into the city.
There are sub-urban forms that are compatible with transit. In the South Shore (Brossard, Longueuil), buss service is possible, and actually quite usable. Anything less and you should be on your own.
Sure it will. It’s not Montréal fault’s that the south-shore chose to be totally dependent on cars, so why should we accommodate their cars? The south shore does not care a bit about our deteriorating streets, so why should we care about their self-inflicted plight?
It’s up to the South Shore to wise-up and face the music that they did a very bad choice, and they should reform their ways by giving them no alternative but radically reform.
Well, if they want all this, what’s to prevent them from paying the TRUE COST of all this? Of course, a lot less people will be able to afford that once they have to pay for the full cost, but hey, that’s not our problem.
As of now, I pay a hefty chunk of taxes every year to support the south-shore’s lifestyle.
Well, that’s their choice. Now that their choice has hit the wall, they gonna have to choose something else. And pay for it.
In the meanwhile, a huge swatch of land is not available for agriculture or something else.
Hey, I have an idea: once the cars get to the parking lot, they should be put in an industrial compactor/thrasher and sent to be melted away; this way, there will be no room wasted, and by having to buy a new car to go home, that will forever stimulate the Economy. Genius, no???
Cry me a $BLEEPING river. We do all this without cars, us, the valorous moral folks who live in the City without having a car. What do suburbanites have to be spared our daily ordeals???
The best way is to get rid of cars altogether. Then, people will have no choice but take the alternative, and better yet, there will be plenty of incentives to develop alternatives. And design better cities.
Tolls are disingenuous. They target a very localized road usage that can often be circumvented. They also induce the expense of collection and accounting.
A much better approach is with comprehensive gas taxes, which not only applies to everyone, but also are directly proportional to the size of the vehicle and therefore of the pollution emitted. Such a tax is also universally-collected, so it has less administrative overhead than a localized tax.
There could be other ways, too, like on-demand transit, such as the taxibuses used here and there in Montréal.
You forgot to mention one little detail : the public bus transit system in the Candiac, Ste-Catherine, Delson, St-Constant is simply a piece of poo. It pales in comparison to the amazing RTL service available in the rest of the south shore.
It’s as is this whole south shore area is a second hard kind of south shore.. I would gladly take the bus to the train station if the damn thing would actually run near my house and on decent times !!
As it is, the car or bike to the train station is the only option.
Indeed; the southeastern south-shore ’burbs seem to be some kind of suburban turd-world as they are extreme examples of cheapskateness. When I volunteered at the Delson train museum, I recall there was next to no cooperation from those cities, as if they treated one of the largest train museums in the world as a big nuisance… If there is on area that desperately needs to be merged, it’s those!!!
So, I guess the hourly (or better) bus service that drops you off right in front of the museum is not good enough for you?
In 2008, bus service was increased 80% in this area. Rush hour service is 20 mins or less and off-peak is hourly. This is considerably better than some other CITs.
We should highly command the mohawk Warrior Society for the initial spark that marked the renaissance of commuter trains around Montréal; thanks to the 1990 blockade, the government woke-up to the fact that you can implement a commuter train in record time. It took only three weeks to implement from scratch the two commuter trains that came from Mercier to Central Station, and from then on, commuter trains were implemented instead of lamenting the poor fate of motorists.
Buses that come from Chateauguay and beyond should terminate at Ste-Catherine station and let their patrons on to the trains; this way, they will not be clogged in traffic, blocked by the cars of those foolish enough to go on with their cars into town.
I suppose that the reason why the deadheads don’t take passengers is because they go to Candiac (what a misnomer! That godforsaken station is far from anything!!!) directly from the Sortin yard (which is in Lachine), and the only place where passengers could get on in Montréal is the Lasalle station.
But yes, the AMT does a piss-poor job for reverse commuters; I worked for a long time in the West-Island and the train service sucks big time; even though it was north of the 40, I could not take the Deux-Montagnes line to go there, but had to go to Dorval, then take a bus there, because if I used the Deux-Montagnes line, I would get to work either at 7:30 or at 9:30.
Another thing the AMT could do on the reverse commute as an incentive to ride the train is to let regular STM passes ride against the traffic; that would show people that there are trains, and it would ease the strain on bus lines like the 211 who are all too often mired in traffic.
I get the feeling, when dealing with the AMT, that they believe reverse commuting doesn’t exist. Just look at how many people travel to downtown, and it appears that the percentage of reverse commuters is tiny – even if the number itself is actually quite tangible.
As for turning dead-heading into live service, it is the question whether the extra attracted riders cancel out the extra costs – and note that the occasional reverse commuter, who can rely on the service even if they don’t always need it, may become a regular transit user. HumanTransit.com recently looked at the issue of dead heading.
It’s not that simple. Often, deadheads do not strictly follow regular routes, such as interlining, for example.
Or trains originate from a maintenance/storage facility that’s not close to a terminus.
“Buses that come from Chateauguay and beyond should terminate at Ste-Catherine station and let their patrons on to the trains”
Would make sense, but would involve three different transit systems coordinating. Which isn’t possible in Quebec.
Ya know, while in the past 30 years we have had different governments come and go, the managers of Transport Quebec have largely remained the same. Why can’t some enterprising reporter or blogger go after these people and ask them directly what happened? Why was the provincially owned portion of the Mercier Bridge allowed to deteriorate to this extent? I would be fascinated to see a expose on the decisions made by those with the power over the last 30 years or so. Steve, get the Gazoo on it. Imagine the crap that will stick.
It’s easy to blame all this on the government, as if their incompetence is the sole reason the Mercier Bridge is in the state it’s in. But let’s put this into perspective: This part of the Mercier is more than 70 years old, it has been degraded mainly by road salt, it was undergoing a major scheduled repair to its roadbed and it was closed to traffic when a problem was discovered. (Or, more accurately, it was closed when someone decided than an inspection done months ago showed a major problem).
I’m not going to defend the transport department and suggest there is no political reasoning that enters into the mind of decision-makers when it comes to things like bridge closures. But closing the Mercier span was the responsible thing to do, and it’s politically unpopular, even if people understand why it was done.
We know our bridges are aging and need major repair or replacement. That’s why there’s political movement on a new Champlain Bridge. But things move slowly in government when we’re talking about multi-billion-dollar projects.
THIS. Even the Champlain bridge (50 years old) wasn’t designed with road salt in mind.
I’m sure that there are some people who think they should have waited until it collapsed, like in Minneapolis.
Why replace them? We have all we need to take over their function: it’s called railroad tracks, and it’s in the shape of both the Victoria and the St-Laurent bridges. Those tracks are underused, let’s put them to good use!
Force transit traffic that goes through Montréal to use piggyback service, and that’s so many trucks already off the roads. Then put frequent (30 minute off-peak, 10 minute on peak) commuter trains in BOTH directions.
Voilà! Problem solved without the need of ruinous new bridges that would be useless 20 years from now because the car traffic will have dwindled to zero thanks to $10 gas and the impracticability of large-scale electric cars.
Whoops, I forgot to add that link.
First, it would involve only two: CITSO and AMT.
Second, you should take a trip up to Sainte-Therese or McMasterville train stations where there are several (almost 10 at Sainte-Therese) shuttle busses that are timed for train departures and arrivals.
The only problem I see with diverting everything to Sainte-Catherine is the frequency of service on that line. Chateauguay residents have relatively frequent (by CIT standards) all-day bus service, where as the Candiac line barely exists outside rugh hours.
This problem-has existed since the early 1960s( when I lived in Candiac as a kid)It STILL exists…………
( I read the AMT webpage-and I LAUGH…….Candiac- should have been called Car- diac-(because unless you have a car-you cant go ANYWHERE-( unless you want to pay VERY expensive fares-( its been that way-since 1962-I left after 9 years-( because I had NO way of looking for work-(except in Candiac)(which was built by a private Corporation-)
(I was socially totally ostracized for LEAVING Candiac( to live somewhere where there IS regular PUBLIC Transit(Brossard, then Lachine ( then …Toronto)………(but I still know people in Candiac( they cant go anywhere-(unless someone else drives them)
In Candiac- they had the(useless) Metropolitan Sud buses( as well as Candiac Taxi…..(it cost 7 dollars(in the 1960s( was REALLY expensive)JUST to go ONE way…….(to go 5-7 miles)
I am old enough(age 55) to remember the Montreal streetcars( and the Montreal and Southern Counties streetcars across the Victoria Bridge)they could NOT get rid of all that FAST enough-(you’d think they also could have extended the Longueil metro line down the South Shore( within the past 45 years?)…….(Toronto has had the GO trains for 45 years-(one line total length? 100 miles-costs ONLY 9 dollars to go 50 miles….(Toronto down to Hamilton ALL DAY….)…
where I live now- theres 5 streetcar lines( since the 1890s(and which we will NOT get rid of(NO ‘August 1959’ here)-2 bus lines-3 rail lines-3 subways(Metro lines) all within 20 minutes of here…….plus the Montreal-Toronto rail line- is 100 feet from where I am typing this….
(I did not wait-for 1976-to leave Quebec either(I have had relatives in Toronto(since the 1940s(I have lived here for close to 40 years)….I have had requests to’return to Candiac( at which point I crack up LAUGHING…….)……(I also have never had to buy a car- either-I ve used public transit-my entire adult life…..)
you would think that after 50 years Candiac would have PUBLIC transit-( but even as it continues to grow bigger and bigger-NO real public transit…ever-( the rail lines have always been there- but they NEVER used them( except for freight trains)…….
THAT-is part of WHY-Toronto has so many people-it is REALLY easy-to get around the Greater Toronto Area-by AFFORDABLE public transit
(Ah-one final note- excellent piece on CFCF ‘s 50 th anniversary! Thank you for that-I saved it!)
But it was REALLY simple( in 1972)I HAD to live somewhere WITH easily accessible public transit(in order to work-and go to school( and unfortunately-I had to leave Montreal( and Candiac) in order to do it( as did my brothers-and my sister)
Sure it is. Just lop-off intermediate organizations. Have the AMT directly run the whole suburban shebang. And finance the whole thing with an extra punitive gas tax (20¢/l would be a good start), this way, municipalities would get what everyone needs instead of what they are willing to pay for, and there would be none of the silly tax rate jockeying.
It’s very simple. Dwindling budgets caused by the intense pressure to keep taxation down to cater to a very tiny influent right-wing minority.
20 cents a litre? Who are you trying to kid here? There are already incredibly punative gas taxes in place, why keep beating the same horse? Worse yet, your dream of no cars would mean you financing source would die if you are successful. You have to learn cause and effect before you will really get anywhere at this.
There is no pressure to keep taxes down for a ” tiny influent right-wing minority”, rather there is a widespread revolt against ever increasing taxes and fees that are in place, mostly to support a small minority of people who cannot work and cannot take care of themselves. Public transit is massively financed from the public purse, riders don’t pay their share of what it costs to provide service, and home owners, car drivers, and the like are expected to shell out big money for services they don’t use. The true revolt is coming, where people demand huge changes to the way governments do business. Tax and spend left wing politics are great for those at the bottom of the ladder (I see you there!), but they suck ass as soon as you make enough of a living not to be getting every other government handout.
My suggestion? Impose a tax on rental apartments of $20 per month per address. Our rents are way too low in this city.
Just how much of Quebec’s budget do you think goes to welfare? Social assistance payments in this province total about $2.5 billion a year, which is a tiny fraction of the $60 billion budget. That’s 4%, which is hardly “most”
No, I have thought long and hard about this. I have been thinking about those issues for about 30 years, so my mind is quite clear on the subject.
Up to about 60-65 years ago, the Montreal Streetcar Company was one of the most profitable PRIVATE companies around; so were various streetcar and subway companies elsewhere in the world.
What happenned for this to end? Car ownership soared thanks to the government building more and more roads, in effect, subsidizing private transport at the expense of public transport that would no longer meet its’ expenses and had to be municipalized, all too often at great public cost, thanks to creative accounting tricks used to inflate the asset values.
Once you have taxed car usage out of existence, public transit use will soar so it will be profitable again, and if some right-wingnut politicians have their way, it might even assured by private companies (but it’s better to keep those profits within the cities so they can offer better services, instead of having it squandered on private companies profits that only benefit a tiny handful of shareholders and directors).
Whooops! Here comes the populist right-wing fascist argument! It’s not even worth responding to this, it would give it some importance it doesn’t warrant.
Wrong, as usual. You must be a suburbanite for being that much wrong, because only in the City you shall find the Truth… The premier beneficiaries of public transit are the motorists themselves, because public transit clears the roads of other cars.
No revolt is coming, people are too apathetic to do anything beyond their little soup in their little corner. The latest federal elections are a testament to that: the second lowest voter turnout in History!
People are too busy watching hokey games to bother about politics, which is by design. Without pro sports, people might actually start to care about politics and they would elect much better politicians than the morons who are currently in office…
Tax and spend left wing politics are great for those at the bottom of the ladder (I see you there!), but they suck ass as soon as you make enough of a living not to be getting every other government handout.
Wow wee!!! I’ve been around for quite a number of years, including being “online” for almost 25 years, and I have seen plenty of things. But I do not ever recall seeing something as stupid and ridiculous as what you just said.
You are just bitter that you made the wrong lifestyle choice, by getting that house in the suburbs with a big mortgage that has the bank wraps it’s hand around your balls, and of being forced to blow a quarter of your income on those cars you cannot live without, while I tremenduously enjoy myself by living downtown in a rented appartment I can leave anytime I want and not having to drive a car just to live normally, so I can have a more interesting job that pays less, a job I can leave if it the boss gets too moronic without having to worry for the car payment.
4% is the payout on that program alone. Last time I checked, a large part of the overall government budget was locked into social spending, plans, and social spending commitments.
Just remember, the people who receive that 4% also use $7 a day daycare, they also go to government subsidized retraining schools, and so on. The costs are enormous, especially when you realize that they are just spinning their wheels and living on the dole.
emdx, all I can say is that you are so entirely wrong that it almost beyond understanding.
I live in the city, not the burbs. I am a 5 minute walk from a metro station. I own my primary residence outright (and have for years). Pretty much every one of your generalizations and broad brush swipes are as wrong as they can be. Oh yeah, I run my own business, my car is paid for (and the motorcyle, and everything else that comes with it). I don’t worry about my boss getting moronic because, well, I don’t have one.
Now, as for your attempted points, well, let’s start with a little story. About 120 years ago, the horse buggy business was huge and profitable. All sorts of companies were out there making tons of money selling buggies. In fact, it was possibly the most profitable transportation businesses at the time. The point? Times change. Our methods of transportation have changed over the years, the costs and benefits have shifted. The true fact is that current subway / bus / tramway users are loath to pay the true costs of their transportation, let alone making it profitable. A full 50% of your monthly bus pass is subsidized to keep the buses running. There isn’t any profit in it anymore. The buggy makers should have been so lucky!
Most important in this discussion is that you need to realize that the lifestyle choices you make are not right for everyone else, nor do you get to impose your will on others. The $20 rental tax is on par with charging a gas tax, as people who live in rental housing are much more likely to take the metro, to walk on sidewalks, and to generally crowd up intersections with their crossing the road actions. Thankfully, you already pay that tax, you just don’t realize it. It’s called property tax, and your landlord passes that cost onto you if you like it or not.
Public transit only helps to diminish traffic only if it does not also diminish the amount of roadway available for traffic to start with. If you remove 25% of the peak traffic, but shrink the traffic lanes by 25%, you have achieved nothing but a shift. Traffic didn’t get better, and the slow pace of the bus means that the people didn’t get where they were going any faster either. If traffic flow is further diminished by giving taking green light time away from general traffic to allow buses a “priority” at lights, it only gets worse.
Further, and just as important, there is no report of massive increases in bus and metro use. 2% is about as big an increase as I have seen discussed here. We aren’t seeing a massive shift from cars to public transit because it just isn’t meeting the needs. The bulk of the transit is inside a window where car traffic isn’t significant enough to merit a shift. The car drivers have already come from X minutes outside of the city, parking to ride the metro for a few stops isn’t a valid trade. If your goal as stated is to get the cars out of the downtown core and to encourage people to take public transit, you need to go look where those cars come from and address the issues. If you don’t do that, you are fixing the wrong problems.
A great example is the south shore metro. There is a huge need for a line from around lionel groulx to brossard and perhaps even beyond (maybe to 10-30?). The number of buses coming over the bridge every day is insane, the amount of traffic they generate in the downtown core is beyond understanding, and the demand for transport clearly exists – boosted, I should point out, by convenient parking areas located on the far side of traffic jams, not after them. But yeah, I know, you don’t think parking lots work. Too bad! Anyway, extending the metro and using the buses to provide intense local service to and from the metro would be a big step in the right direction. So would making sure there is enough parking in those areas.
It’s all about choices, and understanding that not everyone makes the same choice as you.
4% is dirt-cheap. Much less than the additionnal costs of police, justice & incarceration that would be caused by the increased criminality when cutting-off welfare would force those people into criminality. And that doesn’t account the social costs of the extra criminality.
Spoken like a true caveman! Might is right! To the richest the dough!
What are you doing in Québec? Your view of Society clearly doesn’t match ours.
emdx: What am I doing here? I was born here. However, the plans in the next 12-24 months take me far, far away from this mess. Just like many anglos have done in the last 30 years, I will go away and enjoy living in a place that doesn’t have rampant duplication of government services, and doesn’t have a tax rate that matches the IQ of the average politician. You get so little for all of the tax money, it’s beyond understanding.
It is never to the richest the dough. Rather, it’s to the hardest workers the dough. The slugs and couch patates can suck it up and actually try working for a change.
(Oops, I forgot)
I’m glad to see that Captain Obvious has found a job; he now makes signs for the CPR!!!
Slightly ironic story:
I recently saw an ad for the Train museum (www.exporail.org) in St-Constant. my 2 young boys love trains, so I thought that it would make for a great weekend outing. I dont have a car (though I do use Communauto), so I checked to see how long it would take by public transit, what with the bridge problems an all (being stuck in a car with 2 young children just to cross a bridge is not my idea of a good start to the day, nor the end of a day either). I looked on the map, and saw that it’s located just a few steps away from St-Constant station on the Candiac line. I thought, “Wonderful! I can avoid the bridge, AND take a nice train ride on the way to seeing more trains! The boys will have a blast!”. That’s when I noticed that, wait a minute, there are no trains on the weekend (not even one in the morning and one in the evening!). So, there goes that idea. Thanks, AMT.
I’m not one to go for the low-hanging fruit, but here’s one for @emdx.
What makes you think that people would stay and pay a ludicrously high tax just because you have a beef against cars?
You know why people drive to train stations? Because the bus drivers sit at the stops until the trains unload, then just as people are getting off and running to the bus — they drive away. Happens multiple times a day at every station in the West Island. The AMT and STM have been promising to fix this for decades, but until they start firing bus drivers who literally laugh at their customers, it’s not going to change.
Cars are not going away, and it is silly, just silly to think they will. People are already knowingly committing themselves to driving 3 hours a day and low-income people will easily spend half of their income on their vehicles.
It’s insane — but it’s not going to change.
Your ideas make about as much sense as David Suzuki and his ZPG idea. It’s a idea that ignores thousands of years of human history.
I’m not one to go for the low-hanging fruit, but here’s one for @emdx.
Mooo. Because they’ll have no choice.
Well, that’s what suburbs are for: everyone is in his little corner, doing his business, totally oblivious to the world around them.
This is why there should be one single transit agency to run the whole show.
There are still a lot of Drapeau-era cronies in the STM that still have cushy jobs, and do what their master did, anything that could be against commuter trains, because, remember, Drapeau was adamantly against commuter trains. For him, it’s the commuter trains that are responsible for suburban sprawl; never mind all the highways he built during the 60’s!!!!
I remember, some 25 years ago, in Roxboro, there used to be inspector who would actually hold the buses so they would not leave as the train arrived. Guess what? He did not last for a week.
What are you doing about it? If I were you, I would get 10 people to sit right in front of the buses to delay them until the passengers made it. If people did this for a month in a row, that would send the message. You also have to move your arse to the STM public meeting and raise the question, repeatedly. Also hounding the STM brass about it is a good way to go about it; you have to do it, however. Do not trust Transport-2000 for it, they are too busy sucking-up to the STM for little favours.
If you want to be an effective pressure group, you have to be annoying, not a sucker-up.
The STM is a champion for having stupid, zany, nonsensical bus intervals like 9, 13, 14, 18, 22 minutes, which guarantees that buses will never show up at stops at the same number of minutes past their stops; this is the main problem with it. Their planning department needs a serious adjustement. Hopefully the retained solution will involve public floggings.
Sure it will. You just have to make it harder and harder and harder for people to drive.
Well, as it happens, for thousands of years, people did not have cars; the anomaly here is the automobilization of the great masses, surely a historical aberration that has only lasted 50 years. What is 50 years in the face of the whole Human History?
Interesting lively discussion about asphalt suspended over water. I have to agree with most of what emdx is writing. We are probably at opposite ends of the Quebec political debate, but that is what is great about our democracy, since we don’t shoot each other we could agree with each other when arguments are well founded.Hence our civilized society.
Now back to the point. I am a fellow city dweller, had a brief, suffocating relationship with Laval, but came running back to the city. As a family of 4 we had two cars, and wasteful way of life and a terribly unhealthy stressful lifestyle. You know, throwing chemicals on our land for that perfect green grass, driving everywhere, because there where no sidewalks and nothing was close by, heating a massive house and stuck in traffic for an hour and a half each way burning fuel, getting aggravated.
Back to my city of Montreal we have no cars, take the bus in the winter and ride bikes in the summer. Zero stress, more money in our pockets (you really don’t realize how much a car costs until you don’t have one) and a healthy lifestyle and we smile more often.
I keep poking fun at my friends who still need to cross bridges to get to work, I call them from the bar terrace or my balcony when I am at home enjoying a cool drink and they are seething in traffic. All off shorers talk about quality of life at home, neighbours not too close, large land, swimming pools and what have you. But they keep forgetting that they are stuck in a metal and glass box suspended over a river for a good amount of their waking day. What a waste.
Sucks to be most of you, but your choice to live where you live is your choice, don’t make me pay for it, I’ve made my choice.
Also stop your constant honking, I have noticed that since the bridge has been closed, people driving north up into the centre of downtown are honking like mad and burning yellow and red lights. Just because you were stuck, getting in, doesn’t mean you have to take it out on us, get civilized please.
One last point to my rambling. emdx mentioned the PQ has no mob ties, does Videotron, Quebec City hockey arena bring anything to mind?
I keep poking fun at my friends who still need to cross bridges to get to work, I call them from the bar terrace or my balcony when I am at home enjoying a cool drink and they are seething in traffic. All off shorers talk about quality of life at home, neighbours not too close, large land, swimming pools and what have you. But they keep forgetting that they are stuck in a metal and glass box suspended over a river for a good amount of their waking day. What a waste.
Then your friends aren’t very smart. I recently bought a house in Laval, and I was very strategic when it came to location. I live two blocks away from a bus stop served by 7 buses, all going to Cartier metro. I hop on a bus, and it takes me 9 minutes to get to the metro station. Most mornings, it takes me 35-40 minutes to get to work. I know many people who live on the island and it can take them much longer than that to get to the office, because they rely on the STM’s unreliable bus service. I’ve never driven to my downtown office, because quite frankly, who would want to when public transit offers me such reliable service? Who would want to stay stuck in traffic every day when you can use public transit and get to work in half the time?
As they say in real estate, location, location, location! I scouted out my new home with public transit in mind. Trust me, I would’ve loved to stay in Montreal, but alas, I’m not a gazillionaire to be able to afford a half-million dollar home on the island.
Yes I suppose my friends weren’t very smart. A) they are my friends (not a smart move on their part) and B) they had kids and with kids come different priorities such as proxomitie to parks, neighborhoods with young families and houses that hold families and all their suburban activities. As they don’t live in Montreal their kids need to be constantly driven everywhere to participate in activities that most kids ( I am probably going to be told I am generalizing here) but most kids in Montreal, or at least central Montreal play close to home in the alleys or the, what seems as, tons of parks. Now I on the other hand gave up the big house for a nice condo in the city, we downsized. Most people feel that by having big things shows that they have a certain status in their middle class lives. But with the status they wear the anvil of the suburbs and traffic around their necks. So for the suburban ” look at me” lifestyle I, as a city dweller, have to pay for your picket fence lifestyle.
By the way it doesn’t take a ” gazillion” dollars to live in the city, as you were strategic in Laval, you could be so in Montreal and also downsizing has major advantages such as big savings in your pocket. So I am going to continue to poke fun at my not smart friends for as long as they live beyond their stressed means.
I have the quick access to the metro, the parks, and the schools for my kids, all on the island, in what is now a half-million dollar home.
But I’m good at prioritizing how I spend my household’s low six-figure income.
As a non-driver, I pay about $3000 tax per year for the upkeep of roads I don’t use.
When I was a kid, I would see someone going on a red about once a year.
Nowadays, I see it at least once a day. People are much less patient and drive much more crazily than they did.
Not as much mob ties as just wanting to suck-up to the Québec electorate, which is a total stupid thing to do, because they do not vote PQ anyways. It’s just as retarded as the liberals’ sucking-up to the West-Island (say, with the demergers) who votes liberal anyways.
Once again good points made emdx.
We should keep statistics during the summer to see how many backward baseball cap wearing, Honda Civic wanna be F1 racers have mangled their bodies and those of innocent people and what part of the city they come from and where the accidents happen.
As a Montrealer the only thing I have to worry about is that my kids, who are now adults, don’t get run over by these maniacs. My kids are otherwise very safe and could walk home, take a bus/metro or even a cab without destroying other people’s lives. So yeah, in a way we are paying for obnoxious lifestyles of others and that sort of pisses me off. Now if gas prices go up to 2 bucks a litre then guess how sexy the city is going to look to everyone. I would encourage off-islanders to seriously begin considering moving to Montreal, your kids will soon be grown and never home and you will have to pay for more cars for them to get around while living in a big empty house and the money being sucked out of your wallets. Admit it, the only reason you now look forward to the summer weekend B.B.Q backyard parties is so you could get stupid on alcohol to numb you from the reality that you have given up your lives, to a dream that is not real and you have to start it all over again every Monday.
EMDX get yourself a Péché Mortal on my tab and enjoy the summer in the city.:)
As always… :)
Nobody bats an eye at the wholesale slauther of kids that happens on the roads, because it is impossible to live without a car nowadays.
I have a suburban friend with kids who keeps buying cars for them as they wreck them, because there is no bus service where he lives…
40 years ago, at the tender age of 10, I had to ride city buses for 2 hours daily to get to school (it was so refreshingly different than having to be crammed in a crappy car that I never, ever considering getting a car). That was at the time when Montréal was the hold-up capital of North-America.
Nowadays, suggesting such would certainly bring the DPJ in the picture…
We pay it in taxes, in blood, in tears and our health. 50,000 deaths alone can be pinned directly to car pollution. And those suburbanites that choke us to death don’t get to smell the pollution they inflict on us in their low-density quasi-countryside.
I remember someone saying that when he bought a house at about Beaubien/Viau some 40 years ago, people used to say “my god, it’s so far!”, which has given way to “my god, it’s so close!” nowadays…
In the meanwhile, sprawl had gone from l’Abord-à-Plouffe to way past Mascouche…
Not only that, but within 20 years, high gas prices will make suburban living unaffordable, and suburban houses will fall-down dramatically, trapping all those people who chose the wrong way of life into inscapable poverty. Their transportation will cost so much that they won’t be able to maintain their houses.
When people make a bad decision, and they get seriously screwed by it, they will try to rationalize it. Car-dependent lifestyles is a prime example of that.
I’ll be happy with a Saint-Ambroise brewed in my neighbourhood! :) :)
Let us start the counter for the death toll. What are we at mid day Friday and already 4 deaths accounted for. Remember the lyrics to a song “4 dead in Ohio”. That is when students were killed by army bullets on campus, now as you said we don’t blink when youth is destroyed by cars.
So it has begun. The death toll on the roads is mounting. The Gazette is starting to worry about it too.
It’s definitely fucked up that there isn’t any real reverse-peak service. Now I don’t live in the area so I can’t say for sure, but if both lanes are open, shouldn’t peak-direction congestion be the same as normal?
Part of the reason CITSO hasn’t been jumping at the opportunity to shuttle people to Ste-Catherine is that it’s really only necessary for reverse-peak travellers. To send two buses a day there that will have to return to Angrignon anyways just doesn’t seem worth it for them. Now, if reverse-peak trains were running at rush hour, there would be massive incentive to shuttle people back and forth, at least during the rush hour.
I agree with the comment said earlier that reverse-peak travel is significant. As you may know, the city is becoming more and more attractive to live while companies continue to move out into the suburbs. Some suburban transit agencies get it, CIT Laurentides comes to mind. All their bus routes, with few exceptions, offer the same level of service in both directions. You can travel to work on the North Shore every 10 minutes at rush hour. Why do they do this? Because they realize that the buses have to go back anyways, so it costs relatively little to have them go back on their routes instead of hors-service. And, surprise, surprise, it works! There are people onboard these reverse-peak trips. Obviously, not as many as in the peak direction, but they are by no means empty. People, even those who live or work in car-dependent suburbs, do not like paying to drive long distances and if a reasonable alternative exists, they will and do jump on it.
Back to the South Shore, something definitely needs to be done to speed up reverse-peak commutes back to their normal levels. This could prove to be a huge opportunity for the transit agencies. Nobody wants to drive to Chateauguay to work via the congested Champlain bridge, they’d much rather be aboard a train over the St-Laurent bridge. What would be even more ideal is a stop at Kahnawake, even temporary. Now that would be good!
Can you cite your sources on this? If you are unable/unwilling to, then you sir, are just another blowhard who hasn’t the faintest clue what he’s talking about; like most radio hosts.
Its REALLY simple- towns grow into cities- because of public transit-(NOT because of cars-)
Montreal got rid- of its streetcars( 1952-1959)BURNED THEM ALL-
( now a lot of North American cities are bringing them BACK( the Montreal and Southern Counties lines-could have been modernized- the Longueuil metro line could have been extended SOUTH along the Highway down to Candiac-( the land was there to do that-(and above ground…….)
We(Toronto) have had commuter trains( as has Montreal) for decades-( through the Mount Royal tunnel- ( and the West Island)………