Category Archives: West Island

STM to add Habs West Island shuttle bus

Thanks to Linda Gyulai’s most excellent CityHallReport Twitter account for tipping me off to the fact that starting Tuesday, the STM will be offering a shuttle service for Canadiens fans in the West Island as part of a partnership with the team and its The Goal is Green campaign.

It’s a one-way shuttle, leaving the Bell Centre 15 minutes after home games, and dropping off at “three specific locations”: Dorval, Pointe-Claire and Fairview.

Regular STM fares apply.

Speaking of the Canadiens, they’re looking for an in-game animator. Must be pretty photogenic and of a “pleasant appearance” and be fluently bilingual.

CJVD to launch Sept. 29

CJVD, the community radio station serving Vaudreuil-Dorion and surrounding communities, is planning to launch the morning of Monday, Sept. 29.

It’ll be broadcasting on 100.1FM with a blistering 500 Watts (by comparison, CKOI operates with an effective radiated power of 300,000 Watts), and plans to offer local traffic updates and community information.

It will also mean difficulties for people in the West Island and off-island in receiving WBTZ 99.9 The Buzz out of Plattsburgh, N.Y., a station long considered by many as the only Montreal radio station with music worth listening to.

STM adds service, but still short on buses

As part of its promise for vastly increased service for users (and in order to meet government-imposed quotas to get extra cash), the STM has announced sweeping improvements to bus service across the island, as well as better service on the Orange Line of the metro (which will now use renovated MR-73 trains exclusively), all starting next Monday (Sept. 1) as the new schedules are released.

The actual improvements to bus service aren’t quite as dramatic as the long press release would make it seem. Part of the reason is that the STM simply doesn’t have enough buses to meet up with all the increased service it wants. More are being manufactured, but won’t arrive here until next year.

Nevertheless, there are some highlights in the new schedules:

New route: 480 Pointe-Nord-Île-des-Soeurs (plus collective taxi)

The 480 Pointe-Nord Île-des-Soeurs route, which was first announced back in April, finally gets started. It’s an express link between downtown and Nuns’ Island’s new Bell campus. That route will also be paired with a collective taxi service which will run between the campus and Nuns’ Island’s commercial area during lunchtime.

New “seniors” routes: 252, 253, 254

What do you do when a pilot project fails miserably? Try it again in another place without changing any of the things that were wrong with it, of course. After trying “seniors” routes in NDG and Côte des Neiges, the STM is repeating the experiment in Montreal North, Saint Michel and Rosemont.

Like the previous incarnation, these buses will only run on certain days (and it’s not the same days for each bus), during midday, on a confusingly circular route at unreasonably large intervals of between 50 and 80 minutes. The latter two will also use minibuses, which are high-floor buses (it’s unclear if they’ll have lifts like adapted transit buses do) and tough to get into for older people.

The stops will be identified with the same yellow signs as the previous versions, even though yellow signs also indicate temporary routes (like the shuttle running through Georges-Vanier metro) and tourist routes (like the 515 Old Port bus)

470 adds weekend service

As part of its incremental increases to service to the 470 Express Pierrefonds, a route described (repeatedly) as a “home run” by STM director Marvin Rotrand, the STM has finally added weekend service for the first time. Service will be provided in both directions between 6:30am and 6:30pm, at intervals ranging from 20 minutes (during weekend rush-hour times) and 30 minutes (around noon). That’s great, only it took them a year to do it.

103 service intervals to plummet

Service intervals on the 103 Monkland will drop dramatically next week during all hours of service. On weekdays during the day, intervals will be closer to 10-12 minutes than the current 15-20, and during rush hour it will drop below the 6-minutes-or-less threshold.

On Saturdays, morning eastbound service will be at 15 minutes instead of 20. Westbound, intervals will drop from 20 minutes to 15 from 1-4pm, and from 30 minutes to 20 minutes during the evenings.

Sunday’s schedule stays mostly the same.

Neighbourhood routes get later evening hours (but only during weekdays)

Following up on a promise to offer late-evening service to certain routes, new schedules for five seven-day routes show less truncated weekday schedules, which will now end closer to the metro’s closing time of 1am. Weekend service, however, will remain unaffected and still end as early as previously:

Sundays start earlier on the West Island

Anyone who’s tried to get around the West Island early on a Sunday morning quickly realized that it’s not possible before 9am. For some arcane reason, service starts at 7am on Saturdays, but everyone’s expected to just sleep in on Sundays. Only certain routes like the 68 or 211 offer any service before 9am. That changes next week, as the late-rising routes through Fairview start getting up at 7am instead of 9:

Seven-day buses with slightly improved service during rush hour:

(Barely) extended rush hours, up to 1 hour on each side:

Existing “all-day” (but not evening or weekend) routes whose service will end at 7pm instead of 6:30pm:

Service reductions advertised as service increases

Perhaps there was a mixup of some sort. But comparing schedules, it seems there are actually slight reductions in the service on two routes where the STM has advertised slight increases:

  • 268 Trainbus Pierrefonds: Two fewer departures eastbound cutting service after 4pm, three fewer departures westbound cutting service before 9:30am. In exchange, two extra departures at the end of rush hour westbound.
  • 430 Express Pointe-aux-Trembles: One fewer departure westbound in early morning

UPDATE: The papers have stories on the schedule changes. La Presse, notably, mentions nothing about the 470 weekend service nor the earlier Sundays for routes going through Fairview. I guess they think the West Island doesn’t matter.

More “clarifications”

Media outlets not used to issuing corrections will tend to want to downplay them. Some (like CTV) will call them “clarifications” even if they’re outright falsehoods, to make it seem less serious.

A similar thing happens at the West Island Chronicle, which issued this “clarification” for an article it printed last week (which is no longer online):

In an article called “Catering to a tinier crowd,” (The Chronicle, Aug. 13, 2008, Back to School p. 3), it was implied that Yummy Tummy Catering will provide individual hot lunches for schoolchildren as well as for larger daycare centre orders. The company will only provide cold lunches for individual order. The article also implied the catering company was told by Lester B. Pearson school board it could go meet with individual schools to see whether or not they could do business with them. However, this was the company’s own initiative. Yummy Tummy can be contacted at 514-967-9318, not the number reported erroneously in the original article. The Chronicle regrets the error.

First of all, there is more than one error here. “Clarification” and “error” should be plural.

The first error says that it was “implied” that the company would provide individual hot lunches. But the article more than implied it:

When Andrea Levy and Stacey Park noticed some of their acquaintances simply did not have the time to prepare food for their children to take to school but did not want to leave them without a home-cooked meal for lunch, they had an idea. … “Not everybody takes part in the hot lunches (provided) at the schools,” explained Levy … The idea is to provide hot lunches to kids who need it at school … Officials at the latter told them they would have to meet with individual schools to find out where hot lunches are provided …

The second and third errors are simple factual errors (bad phone numbers are a common problem, and this one was off by one digit).

This isn’t a clarification, it’s a series of corrections.

Let’s get it right next time, folks.

CTV Montreal’s $23,600 “clarification”

CTV Montreal issued a rare on-air apology today to Pointe Claire Mayor Bill McMurchie for saying he spent $23,600 on meals at taxpayer’s expense (about $65 a day):

Last July 15, we reported on several occasions that Bill McMurchie, mayor of the city of Pointe-Claire, had spent $23,600 on meals at taxpayers’ expense.

We wish to clarify that the mayor actually spent less than $1,500 on meals during 2007 as shown in a statement prepared by Lyne Goulet, Pointe-Claire city treasurer and posted on the city’s web site.

CTV apologizes to Mayor McMurchie and the elected council of Pointe-Claire for any embarrassment or prejudice that may have been caused.

I can’t find the original story, since CTV Montreal doesn’t archive its news, so I have to go on what’s being written here.

But “clarify”? You inflated a figure more than ten-fold, accusing a man of corruption and left the record unfixed for almost a month, and you’re clarifying?

Unless I’ve missed something, this is a correction. And a major one.

Bus route suggestions on the cheap

To complete my public-transit-in-the-news trifecta, The Gazette’s Henry Aubin has some suggestions about how the STM can help improve the network cheaply, based on readers’ comments:

  1. The MTC should do more to ensure that buses don’t reach bus stops well before their scheduled arrival time: That all depends on what “do more” means. Inspectors check after buses at busy stops to make sure they’re all on time. Individual buses are supposed to keep to their schedules, and in some cases will take breaks in order to keep from moving on too early. But it’s unrealistic to expect an hour-long bus route to be accurate to within one minute at all stops. A simple traffic light or two would be enough to put them off schedule (and often it does).
  2. More posted bus schedules would be handy. No schedules are posted for six to eight bus stops on some routes. What routes? I’ve never seen that many stops between posted schedules. And aside from the fact that every bus stop in the network has a code you can use to call using a cellphone and find out when the next bus comes, the STM has added schedules (and maps) to most of its shelters, as well as stand-alone schedules to many stops. That number is increasing, but there are many less-used stops that don’t have schedules posted.
  3. More generous hours for bringing bicycles on the métro would help certain commuters. Sure, but at the expense of others. The STM limits bicycles on the metro during rush hours and events (such as the fireworks) when the system is too crowded to support them safely. When the network has to choose between allowing a bike on a train or letting three or four people board, it will go with the people.
  4. The MTC could do more to synchronize the routes. Again, what does “do more” mean here? Synchronizing routes sounds very simple, but it’s extremely complicated. Each bus will connect with maybe dozens of others. They can’t all be synchronized in every direction so that every transfer has a minimum wait time. There are some specific areas where individual routes’ schedules could be improved for better synchronization (the 371 and 382 is a personal pet peeve of mine – a delay of a minute over a half-hour route can mean the difference between zero wait time and an hour in a dark outdoor terminus in the middle of the night), but in most cases they do they best they can.
  5. Fewer routes should be part of the Fairview Mall hub-and-spoke system; more should be either east-west or north-south, with transfer-friendly co-ordination between them. The STM has already agreed with this and is transitioning away from the hub-and-spoke system for the West Island. I don’t necessarily agree – I like the idea of a terminal where you can switch from any line to any line, but I guess I’m missing something.
  6. As well, some heavily used routes could cut travel time by avoiding meanderings that benefit relatively few people – the 211 bus’s deviation onto small Dorval streets, for example. I always found that deviation a bit odd, but it does serve the mall at Dorval circle. And the rush-hour 221 skips it for people in a rush. But sure, go ahead and change that.
  7. Other routes could be eliminated entirely, with the resulting savings plowed into new routes or into more frequent service on existing routes (such as) keeping only the 202 and reconfiguring it (to eliminate the 203). The 200 and 205 could be killed. (Notice a West Island bias here?) Well, the 203 is currently the only bus serving Lakeshore General Hospital, so I hope that would be part of the reconfiguration. The 200 is the only bus between Fairview and Ste. Anne de Bellevue on the weekend, but I wouldn’t cry if it disappeared (it doesn’t run after 7pm right now anyway). As for the 205, it is the only bus serving the rather large Rive Boisée area of Pierrefonds. Without it, people would have to walk up to 1,500 metres to the closest bus stop.

But hey, that’s just my opinion.

West Island Chronicle starts online-only weekend edition

This weekend, the Chronicle launched its much-touted (by itself) online-only weekend edition, which seeks to continue the age-old tradition of … whatever it is the West Island Chronicle is known for.

I don’t notice anything particularly new with this weekend edition, but perhaps it’s new for people used to getting a physical paper at home every week. It seems to be filled mainly with pixellated non-expert columnists talking about gaming, parenting, sales, exercise and … miscellaneous, I guess.

STM to add more off-peak bus service starting Monday

The STM’s summer schedule starts next Monday, and the Planibus schedules were posted online today. As expected, there are many service improvements, especially to increase service outside of rush hour on weekdays (links go to PDF schedules).

The following bus routes will be extended to full-day service (meaning Monday to Friday, excluding holidays, during morning and afternoon rush hours and the time between them) at 20-minutes-or-less intervals from about 6am to about 6:30pm:

The following bus routes will move to a one-direction-until-noon, another-direction-after-noon schedule, with 20-minute intervals off-peak, until about 6:30pm:

Other changes:

  • 11 Montagne will have added service in the evenings to coincide with the opening hours of Mount Royal Park. Service will now run until midnight instead of 9pm. However, the western part of the route after 9 will go to Côte-des-Neiges and Queen Mary instead of up Ridgewood, which is kind of silly since the 166 detours up Ridgewood after 9pm. Why not just keep both on their original routes and save everyone the confusion?
  • 210 John Abbott ceases to become a seasonal bus linked to John Abbott’s schedule, and gains all-day weekday status. It will have a 25-minute interval between 6:10am and 5:45pm westbound, and 6:45pm and 6:20pm eastbound. Its route will also be modified to take Sainte-Marie Rd. straight from Highway 40 instead of continuing to Morgan Rd.
  • 219 Chemin Sainte-Marie loses a loop on Sainte-Marie west of Morgan Rd. to EMS Technologies near Meloche.
  • 268 Trainbus Pierrefonds undergoes a radical change to both route and schedule: The route will be extended up Grenet St. to the Côte-Vertu metro station in both directions. Eastbound departures continue every half hour until 3:50pm, and westbound departures from Côte-Vertu are every half hour from 8am to 5:45pm (more frequently during the afternoon rush hour)
  • 505 R-Bus Pie-IX becomes 505 Express Pie-IX, which better reflects its role not as a rush-hour reserved-lane replacement for the 139 bus, but a limited-stop express bus that acts as a second option during rush hours.
  • 515 Vieux-Montréal/Vieux-Port is a new shuttle between Dorchester Square, Berri metro (and the Station Centrale bus terminal), and de la Commune St. The circular route – in both directions simultaneously – takes René-Lévesque, Peel, de la Commune and Berri/St. Denis. Departures are every 13 minutes (10 minutes during weekend afternoons, 20 minutes in the late evenings), seven days a week from 7am to 1am.

Other changes, such as the 480 on Nuns’ Island and weekend service on the 470 Express Pierrefonds, will come in September.

Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments. I haven’t found anything yet on the Old Port bus that’s supposed to come.

QCNA awards excellence in grandmother-turns-100 reporting

This is Nikki Mantell of the Low Down to Hull & Back News, which I have to admit is the most awesome name for a community newspaper I’ve ever seen. If she seems particularly cheerful to you, it’s not just because she’s so adorable with her golden turkey award, or because she has a secret crush on photographer Adam Franc. She also won an award for best local affairs editorial at the Quebec Community Newspaper Association Awards, which honour excellence in (anglophone) Quebec community newspapers. Her paper also won awards for best sports story, best feature photo and best front page, as well as a number of second and third-place finishes, making it a big winner that night.

Another big winner was, unsurprisingly, the West Island Chronicle, which had five first-place finishes, though two were for freelancer Peter McCabe, one was for a former reporter who now works at Canadian Press, and one was for an advertising salesperson.

The Chronicle also won the best overall newspaper award.

The best website category went to the Canadian Jewish News, followed by the Chronicle (strange since it’s identical to every other Transcontinental weekly paper’s website) and the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, which as you can see is all crazy-Web 2.0 without silly things like top stories.

Full list of award winners (PDF)

Municipal democracy is for losers

So the Ile Bizard 2004 demerger referendum vote has been annulled, because with the ridiculous requirements for the vote (i.e. that 35% of all those registered must vote yes, making everyone who doesn’t vote a de facto “no” vote), 400 people who were on the voter rolls but moved away or died before the vote made the difference between it passing and failing.

So now that we’ve rewritten history and Ile Bizard did, in fact, vote to reconstitute itself as a city, what’s being done to ensure the democratic will is being followed?

Apparently, absolutely nothing. The judge didn’t order a new referendum, nor require the government to reconstitute the municipality. Instead, it will be left to a “political” solution. In other words, let the government do what they want. In other words, nothing.

Isn’t that great?

UPDATE (May 17): The Gazette’s Henry Aubin says don’t hold your breath waiting for the government.